Sea World Tragedy

Orca whale dies after living a short life in captivity

Savannah Cox, Copy Editor

Sea World Orlando lost one of their well-known Orca whales, Tilikum on Jan. 6. According to Sea World Orlando, Tilikum had been facing serious health issues and had been declining for months. He had been suffering from a “persistent and complicated bacterial lung infection,” according to the park.
Tilikum was the largest whale in SeaWorld Orlando, weighing more than 11,000 pounds. According to SeaWorld, he was estimated to be around 36 years old when he died, which is old for a captive whale. According to SeaWorld of Hurt, in the wild their maximum lifespan is 60 to 70 years for males and 80 to over 100 for females.
This Orca was the lead in the documentary ‘Blackfish’ that came out in 2013. The film criticized the way the trainers were treating the whales, and how it was harmful to them. According to NPR, the trainers argued that the whales were behaving aggressively due to stress. After the film was released, SeaWorld Orlando agreed that this would be the last group of Orcas to live at SeaWorld.
“I’m really upset about Tilikum’s death, but his death was not as horrifying as his life. He lived for human consumption and entertainment as many animals do, and he deserved so much better,” senior Sophie Marsh said.
Tilikum was captured near Iceland at the age of two and has spent the rest of his life in captivity moving from park to park. According to US Weekly, the whale made headlines when he killed his trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010. This was Tilikum’s third attack in twenty years. After this incident he was confined to a smaller living space within SeaWorld and lived in solitude. The trainers would not go near him and gave him little affection.
“Whales are better than humans. They’re so amazing that humans should be performing tricks in cages in order to make them happy,” Marsh said.
Tilikum was stressed for most of his life and according to Sea World of Hurt most people saw his death as his freedom from the stressful life he lived. The Orcas at the park now will be the last group of Orcas at Sea World Orlando, but there is still a fight for other animals at the park to be freed as well.