Rest in peace sweet boy.
It is with heavy hearts that we announce that the orca, Tilikum, died early this morning. While we are sad to have lost him, we are so happy that he is finally at peace and will no longer be tortured by confinement.
Tilikum, estimated to be 36 years old, was kidnapped and taken from his pod before 1991 since he had come to SeaWorld in 1991 from Sealand of the Pacific in Canada.
According to SeaWorld, he died surrounded by trainers, care staff, and veterinarians. The cause of death has not yet been determined but a necropsy is planned. Vets report though that they had been treating him for a “persistent and complicated bacterial lung infection”.
I wonder, do orcas in the wild suffer from persistent and complicated bacterial lung infections?
From the article:
“In February 2010, Tilikum was interacting with his trainer, 40-year-old Dawn Brancheau, at SeaWorld Orlando’s Shamu Stadium when he grabbed her by the ponytail and pulled her underwater as a horrified audience looked on.
A medical examiner determined Brancheau’s death was accidental, saying she died of drowning and traumatic injuries.
The incident sparked a backlash against SeaWorld and inspired the movie “Blackfish,” which questioned the ethics of orcas in captivity.”
After the incident, SeaWorld continued to allow Tilikum, who weighed 12,000 pounds, to mix and mate with the rest of the orcas- they claimed he was continuing to receive the best care possible. However, he should have been released or sent to a sanctuary.
PETA, one of SeaWorld’s critics, had this to say following the death of Tilikum:
We will update you as we have more information.
Source: USA Today