SeaWorlds main attraction killer whale Tilikum, is dead.

The name Tilikum may sound familiar to you however it may not. But it has a huge impact on thousands of people across the world. Tilikum is the name of a killer whale that was subjected to cruelty for 33 years of his life. He died January 6th this year, at the estimated age of 36 years old. Most of his life, in fact 25 years of it was stuck in a tiny container, how is this fair?

He was forced to perform for entertainment purposes, to perform for people who neglect to understand captivity.

To show awareness to people who lack this understanding, a documentary called “Blackfish” was aired in 2013. This documentary highlighted the cruelty that orcas face in SeaWorld but questioned whether it was right to keep orcas in captivity. There was huge emphasis on the treatment of these magnificent creatures, and a lot of importance on the treatment of Tilikum who was the main focus of this film. This is one of the reasons why his death sparked a lot of emotion, for animal lovers and people like myself.

“Blackfish” even took a glimpse into SeaWorlds breeding program of orcas, which disgusted many viewers. The orca’s are artificially inseminated, which goes against the natural order. Thankfully SeaWorld have decided to stop their breeding program. The documentary also shows the tragic story of how Tilikum was captured. From a young age he was separated from his parents and trapped in netting, to be transported into a life that no animal should go through. Orcas are not entertainment, they are intelligent animals that should be kept in the wild and not in a box. Orcas in the wild can travel up to 100 miles in a da, whereas orcas at SeaWorld are placed in tiny tanks with hardly any room to move in. The plus side of this documentary was that it showed viewers what they could not see, it gave them awareness and a chance to change the treatment of orca’s.

Tilikum was never given his freedom, although countless of individuals and protestors fought for it. However through online networks a lot of people have posted messages such as “Rip…You’re finally free”. One of the charity organisations that demanded and protested for Tilikums release is PETA (People or the ethical treatment of animals). They paid tribute to Tilikums death with a post that said “RIP Tilikum…Dead after decades of misery”.

It caused even more misery for the families of those who were killed by Tilikum. The deaths of 3 people have been connected with Tilikum, which is why the public demanded for his release. One of these deaths was a SeaWorld trainer, who drowned as Tilikum dragged her down. These were clear signs that an animal so big shouldn’t be kept in such a small container. His behavior was aggressive towards the trainers and staff. However it was blissfully ignored as profit and money are accounted higher than an animal’s life and suffering. When is it right to capture an animal and force it to entertain for money, when did money become more important than the suffering of such beautiful creatures.

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