Phelan M. Ebenhack/ASSOCIATED PRESS
The killer whale Tilikum, left, will resume performances at SeaWorld a year after killing trainer Dawn Brancheau.
The killer whale Tilikum, left, will resume performances at SeaWorld a year after killing trainer Dawn Brancheau. Phelan M. Ebenhack/ASSOCIATED PRESS
I have always loved these massive black and white whales and have preferred to call them orcas — rather than killer whales — choosing not to dwell on any dangerous qualities. (Also, because they look so cute when they "smile").
But SeaWorld's killer whale Tilikum actually lives up to the name. Since 1991, he's been involved in the deaths of three people. Just over a year after killing his trainer Dawn Brancheau, the largest killer whale in captivity is resuming his performances at SeaWorld Orlando.
A SeaWorld spokesperson said:
Participating in shows is just a portion of Tilikum's day, but we feel it is an important component of his physical, social and mental enrichment.
SeaWorld officials had always said Tilikum would be back in the water and they've been working to get trainers back in the water. That won't happen yet, though, and trainers will massage the whales with hoses rather than their hands.
They're also putting fast rising false bottom floors in the tanks that will bring the whale out of the water in less than a minute. But I'm just saying, I still think a lot could go down in 60 seconds.
You know how people say, "A good man is hard to find," as an excuse for settling for a subpar mate? Does that apply to these marine animals as well? Is a good whale (cute, funny, sans criminal record) really that hard to find?
You can tell from the photo above that Tili's really got something special when it comes to bigness, but as we discussed in our segment on classroom sizes yesterday, size isn't all that matters.