Needless to say, there is a lot of chatter on the internet about the death of Sea World animal trainer Dawn Brancheau. Mcclatchydc.com reports today that Tilikum, the 23-foot, 6-ton male orca that was responsible for Ms. Brancheau’s death, had been involved in the death of two other people since 1991.
The San Francisco Chronicle yesterday posted a story that pointed out that there are no documented cases of a killer whale attacking a person in the wild. The author of the article wonders if there is something in the captivity of the whales that causes the occasional aggressive behavior toward their trainers.
The author of the San Fransicso Chronicle article concluded:
“To put it plainly, the corporate exhibiting of killer whales today in show parks is for pure and simple profit. Any “research” claimed by these overpriced popcorn and hotdog purveyors has barely more credibility than the so-called “research” conducted by the Japanese whale-killing ships in the Antarctic.
“Let’s not just free Willy. Let’s free them all. Or, at the very least, stop the harvesting of wild killer whales and let the last generation of captive orcas live and die in peace, without the stress and harassment of performing. Many of the Dawn Brancheau’s friends say the last thing she would want is for anyone to harm Tilikum, that she loved the killer whale that took her life. No greater good could come out of this tragedy than for compassion, wisdom, and grace to guide our response. It is, after all, the human thing to
That may be the best idea on the subject I have heard. I will admit I have enjoyed the shows at Sea World, but it may be time, out of respect for the creatures involved, to let those shows end. There are some animals who enjoy performing for their trainers (dogs, I believe, fit in that category), but the killer whale is a very large wild animal that may not adapt well to captivity.