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The Case of the Orca That Killed Its Trainer 395

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "There's an interesting read at National Geographic by Kenneth Brower that probes the case of Tilikum, the homicidal killer whale, who killed his first trainer, 20-year-old Keltie Byrne in 1991. Then in July 6, 1999, a 27-year-old man who stayed after the park closed and evaded security to enter the orca tank was found dead and nude, draped over Tilikum's back with his genitals bitten off. Tilikum's most recent victim was Dawn Brancheau, the SeaWorld trainer he crushed, dismembered, and partially swallowed in 2010. 'Almost all students of orca believe that they are deranged by captivity, some more than others. Tilikum's record puts him at one end of a continuum. There have been dozens of attacks on trainers by an assortment of orcas in the marine parks around the world. [The movie] "Blackfish" shows video from several of these episodes at SeaWorld,' writes Brower. 'What is remarkable about Orcinus orca in marine parks is not these rare episodes. What is remarkable is their monumental forbearance.' For its part SeaWorld is attempting to cast the filmmakers as the true villains, characterizing them as anti-captivity zealots. The company says '"Blackfish" is inaccurate and misleading and, regrettably, exploits a tragedy that remains a source of deep pain for Dawn Brancheau's family, friends and colleagues.'"
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The Case of the Orca That Killed Its Trainer

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  • Re:"Killer whale" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 04, 2013 @08:34PM (#44473233)

    Not to mention they are rather sadistic in their treatment of their prey in the wild.

  • Genes matter (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 04, 2013 @08:49PM (#44473341)
    I know an ex Sea World Orca trainer. She never had anything bad to say about the program. The killer Tilikum has been used for breeding more than any other male Orca though. I wouldn't think that was a good idea. Why not try to breed the aggression out of them?
  • by reve_etrange ( 2377702 ) on Sunday August 04, 2013 @08:54PM (#44473383)

    Number of attacks on humans by Orcas not in captivity: 1 documented.

    Number of attacks on humans by Orcas in captivity: > 27 documented (3 fatal).

    Killer whale attacks on humans

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 04, 2013 @09:31PM (#44473603)

    If these groups were against animal captivity they need to argue about the exploitation of animals and effectively animal slavery for corporate profits

    They talk about that all the time. Even if you disagree with them, how have you not heard of them talking about such things, almost to an excess of some anti-captivity spiels being a thinly veiled anti-corporate spiel? If anything, it happens so much it gets tuned out, and most people don't care. That is why some groups will try to go at it from different angles. If they know the caring about the animal angle doesn't work, they try things that have more direct impact on humans.

  • by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Sunday August 04, 2013 @09:48PM (#44473685) Journal

    Nope, they started while Carter was in office []... More proof he was the worst president ever :-/

  • by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Monday August 05, 2013 @02:44AM (#44474797) Journal
    Oracs are not whales, they normally hunt whales and ignore humans. Orcas will even work with humans to catch whales []. No, not just scavanging around during a hunt like a shark does, but actively herding the whales into twofold bay, alerting and directing whalers to the prey, assisting with the kill, and fending of sharks should one of boats be capsised.

    The Orcas only ate the tounge of the humpbacks, the rest they left for the humans. I've been to the small museam in Eden several times over the years, it's fantastic, one of the best in Australia IMHO. It's main drawcard is the skeleton of "Old Tom" on display, several of his front teeth are missing due to being worn through by the harpoon rope, one tooth still in place has a large grove in it from gripping the rope.

Variables don't; constants aren't.