Tilikum Research Excerpts

Tilikum lives in captivity at SeaWorld Orlando and has been involved in the deaths of three people—two of them his own trainers. Tilikum most recently made headlines after a February 24, 2010 incident when he killed Dawn Brancheau, a 40-year-old trainer with sixteen years of experience at SeaWorld. Tilikum drowned Brancheau following a popular “Dine with Shamu” show while tourists continued to watch from above and below the tank.

The doumentary A Fall From Freedom was of great value to my early research on Tilikum. Below is an excerpt that explains the history of Tilikum's captivity. You can watch the entire film for free on YouTube or purchase it as I did, to support its creators, EarthView Productions.

Below are links I found helpful in my early reseach on Tilikum:

Keto and Tilikum Express the Stress of Orca Captivity
Center for Whale Research

Ric O'Berry's Dolphin Project
The Orca Project
Orca Tracker

SeaWorld Orlando

In July of 2011—four months after Tilikum was placed back into performing in shows after thirteen months of near-solitary confinement following Branchaeu's death—I reluctantly traveled to SeaWorld Orlando to experience a day in as close proximity as possible to Tilikum, despite my desire to not financially support SeaWorld and its practices in any way. I continue to feel conflicted about having paid for my admission and participated in the system that supports marine mammal captivity, but was compelled to see Tilikum and his surroundings for myself. Below is an excerpt from my visit to Shamu Stadium where I saw Tilikum perform in two hour-long shows to a packed stadium of summer-time tourists.