Seaworld's Tilikum the orca whale has died
Tilikum, an orca who was best-known for being the subject of documentary Blackfish, died this morning.
Sea World officials announced the news in a statement but did not give a cause of death. They said the whale had faced serious health issues since March of last year including a persistent and complicated bacterial lung infection. He was estimated to be 36 years old and a necropsy will reportedly be performed.
"Tilikum had, and will continue to have, a special place in the hearts of the SeaWorld family, as well as the millions of people all over the world that he inspired," SeaWorld President and CEO Joel Manby said. "My heart goes out to our team who cared for him like family."
Tilkum arrived at the park about 25 years ago. He was notable for his size at more than 22 feet and 11,800 pounds.
The male orca whale was implicated in the deaths of three trainers over his years at Seaworld. The most famous of these occurred in 2010, when Dawn Brancheau was dragged into the water by her arm and drowned. Brancheau was interacting with Tilikum before a live audience at SeaWorld Orlando when the incident occurred. Tilikum was also involved in the deaths of two other people in the 1990s.
After Dawn's death, the tragic incident was the subject of a controversial documentary, Blackfish, which sought to look at the behaviour of killer whales in captivity.
Story by Deirdre Molumby | 16:25 | Friday 6th January 2017 | Trending