SeaWorld Orca That Killed Trainer, Plunged Company Into Controversy Dies

Calvin SaundersJan 09, 2017

The statement said a necropsy will be performed on the orca, noted for his size at 6.7 metres and almost 5,500 kilograms.

SeaWorld veterinarians were treating Tilikum for a persistent and complicated bacterial lung infection. The Orca was actually involved in the deaths of three people: also killing a man trespassing on SeaWorld Orlando's property, and a trainer at SeaWorld. Later, an autopsy report said Brancheau had suffered severe trauma and multiple fractures, but died because of drowning, reported BBC.

He was 36-years-old. Trainers would once swim in the pools with the whales, giving the massive creatures signals for specific tricks.

Rescuers were unable to recover her for two hours.

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"No longer a theatrical show, this live presentation will have the feel of an engaging documentary centered on the orca's natural behaviors, physical attributes, intelligence, social structures and unique relationship with mankind", according to a statement from the park.

Bowing to pressure from animal rights advocates and decreasing attendance over the past few years, SeaWorld San Diego is ending its long-running killer whale show with a final performance by the big black and white orcas on Sunday.

The orca first came to the park 25 years ago and has been connected to the deaths of three people at the park. "My heart goes out to all who have cared for him over the years and the countless individuals who have worked so hard to put an end to orca captivity".

Tilikum was moved to SeaWorld Orlando a short time later, and Sealand later closed.

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His role in trainer Dawn Brancheau's death in 2010 and the documentary "Blackfish" that implied his treatment led to the tragedy sent SeaWorld's business into a spiral.

Her death was not the only one linked to Tilikum at SeaWorld. After the documentary played at the Sundance Film Festival and aired on CNN, several entertainers pulled out of planned SeaWorld performances and animal rights activists increased their demonstrations outside the parks.

Animal rights advocate and senior Vice President of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Lisa Lange asked SeaWorld authorities to release all the other orcas into the sea or coastal sanctuaries. The shows were already scheduled to end on Sunday, but the loss of Tilikum and the final performance of SeaWorld's signature attraction no doubt mark a much needed end to an ugly era.

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