Orcas, or killer whales, are highly intelligent and social creatures. Male orcas live out 50-plus years of their lives constantly at their mother’s side. Tilikum, the orca responsible for Brancheau’s death and two others, would be at his mother’s side this very moment were he not spending endless hours floating motionless at the surface of his pool down at SeaWorld.
Dawn’s death was a preventable tragedy but the captive holding of Tilikum and other ocean-going mammals for financial gain is a deplorable travesty. No matter how “good” one believes captive mammals are treated, the truth is it is cruel and inhumane to subject these intelligent animals to a life of imprisonment, separated from their family, doing tricks for clueless human spectators while SeaWorld rakes in the dough.
The only good news at SeaWorld is that like more than 100 other killer whales, the captive Orca will die young and be free.