By now everyone has heard of the death of the trainer at Sea World by the killer whale Tilikum. While this is tragic and sad, I've been thinking about both sides of the situation for a few days. When I was a kid I experienced "Shamu" at Sea World which was a lot of fun... getting soaking wet, etc. Now, after this has happened and watching videos, I wonder if they should have these giant wild animals in captivity at all. I'm am by no means a member of PETA, a tree-hugger, or anything like that, but you have to take into consideration the track record of this animal. If they are born in captivity thats one thing - it's like a pet horse or dog - it's natural for them and they obviously dont' know anything else. They couldn't survive in the wild anyway. But Tilikum was born in the wild. That presents a problem.
Here's one perspective I've been thinking about. Tilikum is a wild animal. They captured him in the wild (which is now illegal - all of the other orcas are born in captivity) which probably attritubutes to his violent past and current behavior. Three inviduals have been killed by Tilikum. But can you blame a killer whale for being an animal and doing what is natural? He's obviously not happy with his current living situation. They aren't named "killer whales" for no reason. If they thought Tilikum would be "happier" being kept in captivity, in a tank comparively the size of a bath tub to his natural enviornment, and being forced to put on silly shows and interact with humans for hours on end... they were mistaken.
Sea World already had safety measures in place for him such as trainers not allowing to be in the water with him, and he was only used primarily for the splash portion of the show. But obviously that wasn't enough.
Tilikum is 22.5 ft long and weighs 12,300 lbs - making him the largest living captive orca.
Here is my other thought process on this stiatuation. Tilikum is an animal. Animals never come before humans, in any circmstance. Something should have been done with him the FIRST time he killed someone. I'm not saying put him down or anything, but he should have NEVER been used around humans again. A human life is far more valuable than the life of this animal. It may have been a "freak" accident and some say Tilikum may not know his own strength and was just "playing", but the fact of the matter stands - he killed three people. What other animal do you know would still be alive if it had killed three people, or ONE for that matter? They put dogs down instantly when someone is seriously hurt or killed by them. I find it unbelieveable that Sea World is still going to continue using Tilikum for shows!!
That is my rant for today! I'm tired of hearing about it on the news everrrryyy night, but it will be interesting to see where this goes. Three strikes and you're out in my opinion. Like I said, I see both sides, and if the decision were up to me I know it would be a lose-lose situation.
My prayers are with the trainer Dawn Brancheau and her family. The only consolation, small as it may be, is that she died doing what she loved. I hope we can all say the same thing when our time comes!