By Kirsten Massebeau
Ripped from his family 35 years ago Tilikum the star of the film “Blackfish” has been diagnosed with a deadly respiratory infection that cannot be cured. SeaWorld continues to update the public trying to convince the world that “they care” but in reality all SeaWorld saw in Tilikum was a river of golden sperm that would further their breeding program. Through constant sexual abuse SeaWorld employees collected sperm artificially inseminating female whales, producing 21 calves within the SeaWorld prison system. Those baby orcas, were then ripped from their mothers sides, and shipped to other SeaWorld’s where they too must perform to eat. Many have died or become aggressive, never knowing a true family or the rhythms of the sea, their true home. They are a generation of slaves born into the SeaWorld prisons.
Despite the backlash from the film “Blackfish” documenting the death of Dawn Brancheau, the trainer killed by Tilikum, SeaWorld has made no positive changes for Tilikum or any of the orcas languishing at their many facilities in the United States and abroad.
Tilikum will never know the impact he has made on the captive industry. His story, supported by objective data, details a cruel environment that destroyed an orcas mind and spirit, who was kidnapped at the age of two destined to live out a life of torture, and terror for 35 years, killing three humans beings along the way. His message was loud and clear but SeaWorld and the captive industry would never listen. Now his only escape is death as he dreams of the Icelandic ocean, the rhythms of the sea, and the family he will never see.
As Tilikum’s condition continues to deteriorate dolphin activist communities and scientists are pledging that they will increase the pressure on the cetacean prison camps and all dolphinariums worldwide. It’s time to empty the tanks and give dolphins and whales the retirement and restitution owed to them by the captive industry which is a failed experiment in every way as evidenced by the tragic life of Tilikum.