Tilikum is a killer whale in every sense of the term.
A little more than a year ago, Tilikum, the killer whale, killed SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau in front of a shocked audience.
Tilikum dragged Brancheau into the pool by her hair and drowned her. He reacted violently after she swung her ponytail past his face, sending the whale into a fury.
As of today, Tilikum is back in action, polarizing whale viewers the world over.
The 6-ton whale has so far killed three people, Brancheau being the most dramatic death. He killed another trainer in 1991 and a homeless man in 1999. Tilikum has been killing for 19 years, yet the folks at SeaWorld see redeemable qualities in the whale, who in all fairness was snatched from his natural environment and forced to do circus tricks for spectators.
Death by whale is uncommon, but that’s not to say Tilikum won’t strike again. Trainers are extra cautious around the whale, and no longer rub him manually. What he doesn’t get in human touch, he gets in the form of high-powered hoses.
From an objective standpoint, Tilikum’s return to SeaWorld’s performance lineup must be qualitative. He must be an awesome whale, capable of high jumps and the finest beach-ball balancing. Additionally, considering his massive frame, he must excel at the audience whale splash—a fan favorite.
Tilikum is the Michael Jackson of killer whales. Promoters will book him and crowds will come see him regardless of his personal turmoil.
The Brancheau family has not spoken out on Tilikum’s return to Sea World, but you can donate to their foundation.
[Image via Glitter Goo]