Tillikum Brought Hope To End Cetacean Captivity|
posted on January 6, 2017
Tillikum Brought Hope to End Cetacean Captivity
The orca known as “Tillikum” has died at the estimated young age of 36 (Males live up to 60 years in the wild). He and two females were captured off Iceland following a joint Lifeforce/Greenpeace campaign that stopped Sealand of the Pacific’s plan to capture endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales near Victoria, BC.
Lifeforce Founding Director predicted that he would kill others after the death of Keltie Byrne at Sealand, Victoria, BC in 1991. Lifeforce made recommendations in response to the BC inquest and when Sealand announced plans to sell the orcas to Sea World Lifeforce advised Sea World owners to never put people into the pools with “Tilly
In 1999, a 27-year-old man named Daniel P. Dukes trespassed into the pool and found dead. In 2010 Tillikum that contributed to a third human death. This time it was a trainer at Sea World, Florida. In 1991 he and two others caused the death of a trainer at the now defunct Sealand of the Pacific, Victoria, Canada.
In 2012 Judge Ken Welsch has made his decision in the SeaWorld vs OSHA case. SeaWorld tried to overturn the fines against them following the horrific death of trainer Dawn Brancheau in Florida. The judge upheld that SeaWorld was responsible in death of trainer.
SeaWorld’s contention that it was unaware working with killer whales presents a recognized hazard was refuted by former trainers and information provided by Lifeforce . Lifeforce’s Peter Hamilton provided documentation proving that SeaWorld was fully aware that “Tilikum” and two female orcas were a danger and did kill the Sealand trainer. The documentation included Lifeforce recommendations presented to a Coroners’ Inquest and numerous Lifeforce letters to SeaWorld owners and management. When the orcas were to be sold to SeaWorld Lifeforce urged them to not use them in shows with employees. It was then that Lifeforce’s Peter Hamilton predicted that “Tilikum” could kill again.
Physical and psychological abuse
As with other orcas and dolphins imprisoned in aquarium tanks there was a history of physical and psychological abuse. In this case, during evenings Tillikum and two females were lock up in a steel pen called the "holding module" for approximately 12 hours every night. It measured only approximately 25' x 30' . And it was only 12' deep.
Nootka IV was sent to SeaWorld Florida. She died after 12 years of captivity. Haida and son Ky were sent to SeaWorld Texas. Haida died after 19 years of captivity. In the wild, females can live over 90 years. There are many injuries at SeaWorlds and other aquariums - some very serious. Many are not made public and settled out of court. In 2004 Tillikum's son Ky attacked a trainer in Texas.
Lifeforce Activist’s Rare Footage in Blackfish Movie.
“Tilly’ was in the documentary “Blackfish” that raised public awareness of the plight of captive orcas.
After the death of a whale trainer in the early 90s, activist Peter Hamilton obtained photographic evidence of the abuse of three orcas at Sealand of the Pacific, Victoria. During a covert operation Lifeforce obtained footage of the secret “holding module”. This “prison” was only approximately 25’ x 30’ x 12’. The orcas were locked up every night. They suffered physically and psychologically. Captivity causes abnormal aggressive behaviours.
“Tillikum brought hope to end all cetacean captivity. Lifeforce hopes that Tillikum’s involvement in the death of three people will eventually lead to the death of cetacean captivity at aquariums such as the Vancouver Aquarium,” stated Peter Hamilton, Lifeforce Director, “All dolphins suffered when they are sentenced to life in an aquarium prison and they can cause severe injuries and deaths.”
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Lifeforce in Canada's National newspaper Globe and Mail
Killer whale dies.