January 6th 2017: Tilikum a 36-year-old Orca living at Sea World has died, presumably of a bacterial lung infection. Sea World said in their official statement (which you can read by clicking here) claimed that Tilikum was an "older animal", when in fact Orcas in their natural environment have approximately the same life span as a human - 75 years for a male, and 80 for a female. Tilikum didn't even live half of this.
|Image Source: Dawn Brancheau - Riders on the Storm (Shamu the whale)|
Tilikum was captured at the age of around two, in seas near Iceland. This beautiful young creature was torn away from his family and ocean home and kept in a cement tank for almost a year, at the Marine Zoo near Reykjavik. He was later transferred to the Sealand park in British Columbia, Canada, where he was kept in a pool measuring 50 foot by 50 foot, and was just 35 feet deep. Withholding food was the main training technique used by his keepers, and he was forced to perform eight times a day, seven days a week. The stress and exhaustion from this gave him stomach ulcers, and at night he was locked into a tiny rounded metal module with two female orcas who often subjected him to painful attacks to show their dominance.
In 1991, the Sealand trainer Keltie Byrne fell into the pool containing all three orcas, who tossed her around underwater, causing her to drown. Later, Tilikum was sold to SeaWorld, who planned to involve the largest killer whale in captivity in their breeding program, and now 54% of ocras at SeaWorld have Tilikum's genes.
Since being transferred to SeaWorld, two more people died due to Tilikum. Despite this, it can be said that the park's treatment of him, forcing this beautiful, intelligent creature to perform tricks for entertainment like a lesser being led to this.
So many news articles about Tilikum's death have referred to him as "the killer whale that killed his trainer", which is unfair to say; it has been SeaWorld, and SeaLand that caused all of these deaths, each and every one of them.
What the human race has done to these creatures is reduced them to so much less of an animal, by taking them from their homes and putting them in glass bath tubs to be stared at and forced to perform tricks. I cannot even begin to image how terrified, and how helpless these animals must be feeling, and yet we continue to do it in the name of making a profit.
There are those that claim these animals enjoy performing, and enjoy learning and yes, that may be true, but to be subjected to a lifetime of it can drive an animal to exhaustion, and extreme measures! Tilikum and other Orcas that have displayed aggressive behaviours have done so out of desperation, out of finally having had enough.
The human race is exploiting the lives of creatures because we see ourselves are better. We aren't, we really are not. The human race is the scum of the earth - we see something beautiful and we have to kill it. Flowers, these orcas, Dave the earthworm (read more about that by clicking here). All of this we do in the name of love, in the name of wonder, in the name of science, but surely it would be better if we left it all alone?! Thanks to the human race, there are going to be depleting numbers of species for future generations to wonder at, less rainforests, little or no oil, and more pollution and landfill than I can even comprehend. Furthermore, you, America, just elected a President that doesn't believe that global warming exists. The future looks bright, doesn't it?!
I know that writing my thoughts in this little corner of the internet isn't doing much, but I am letting you, the reader, know about the awful treatment of animals in our "care", and how much of a plague we really are; look at what humans are doing to the earth, to the creatures, and to ourselves (in the past also!). We are exploiting something that is finite, and we deserve to have died a long time ago.
I really wish there was more that I could do, but please, if you're reading this and have had thoughts on anything I've said, leave me a comment, share this, and talk about it. We can't let globally giant corporations get away with murder.
I'm pretty sure there's a lot I've not covered in this post, but I had to write it all whilst the thoughts were still fresh in my head.
Please, don't let another orca's death in captivity be in vain.
- Dottie x