Skip to main content

Florida. Tillicum. Killer Whale. Captive Animal. He Wants Out.

This is all over the news, and the media just loves this kind of stuff. The local anchorwoman began her report by saying that a tragedy occurred even before people knew what was going on. I reckon she meant the killing of the marine park trainer before a live audience.

But, the truth be told, the real tragedy has always been in plain view. They are kept in relatively small tanks, and taught to perform acts that are unnatural to them. Killer whales are not pets that you embrace, kiss, and ride. Yet, they are trained to tolerate these human acts, and marine parks make money exhibiting this tenuous state of affairs. Killer whales are social beings, vis-a-vis their own species, have their own sense of self and what is acceptable to that self. They don't belong in marine parks and are not normally subservient to humans. Even a yokel like me, doing a little bit of research, can come to this conclusion.

Is there anyone out there who can truly measure the frustration level of captive killer whales? Some claim to have an understanding of killer whales, but two trainers and a private citizen are dead, killed by the same whale, Tillicum, a few years ago. What other signs does Tillicum need to exhibit to be considered a frustrated and unhappy animal? Seaworld must have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, perhaps even millions, on Tillicum and so it is not about to declare him dangerous enough that he has to stop performing or interacting with trainers. That would mean a loss in revenue. Tillicum's unsafe behaviour or nature will be veiled in terms of " He doesn't know his true strength and size and thus he could and has accidentally killed humans. " Another one would be that the trainer did not follow proper procedures. Never will it be that Tillicum has had enough and should be released. With all the money involved, that's not going to be an option at all. When will zoo keepers, zoologists, and captive animal trainers recognize that they can't keep wild animals imprisoned and expect them not to break? Our self-proclaimed dominion over animals is wrong.


wildrose89 said…
As much as I agree with you, wild animals should not be held in captivity and trained to do our bidding, I also believe that it would be too late to release Tillicum. Tillicum has become accustomed to being in captivity, accustomed to being fed, cleaned, and cared for. It would be very difficult and very hard on Tillicum to be rehabilitated. Humans don't follow the sink or swim code, we don't realize how difficult it is. We are forever helping each other, and ensuring we all make it. Animals do not have that tendency, Tillicum could be rejected by many pods and may be unable to hunt on his own. They are very social whales and if Tillicum would not have any social interaction, who knows what effect that would have on him. He could become depressed and starve. I do not believe that such a repercussion would be fair to Tillicum. We did this to him, and now we must find another way.

I admit that no matter how well they treat the whales, they are not meant to be things of amusement. They should be appreciated in their natural habitat where we can truly appreciate them, their beauty, and intelligence. Taking them out of their home and turning them into performers is far worse than rehabilitating Tillicum. I would suggest allowing Tillicum to live out his days, with the other orcas, but not performing.
Anonymous said…
can we get a few things straight on Tilli....yes he killed Dawn...the other 2 incidents he did was a transient man with mental issues snuck into the aquarium and sealed his own fate with hypothermia...the other one included 2 other killer whales that were known to be the agressiors not Til...

Popular posts from this blog

Northern New Jersey. Dog for Adoption. Simba. Pomeranian.

Here's a dog I want you to meet, Simba. He's an energetic little fellow who literally leaps in joy when it's time for a walk. I mean, Simba leaps vertically like he's on a pogo stick. He's very amusing. Simba was rescued from a pound down in West Virginia, and he's now with us in northern New Jersey. I love small dogs, and he's become my most recent favorite. Simba certainly qualifies as a lap dog. Last Sunday, after walking him, we sat in our patio area at the shelter and I gave him tummy rubs and back massages while he laid like a pillow on my lap. I've been told that Simba doesn't like having a collar put around his neck, and so he wears a harness instead. Interestingly, Simba is microchipped. So, he belonged to someone who cared for him. He's a good boy and only two years old. All predict that Simba will get adopted quickly, like most toy dogs do.

Bloomingdale Animal Shelter Society

UPDATE: Adopted by the Small Animal Rescue of Princeton, NJ

Poem. Captivity, Longing. Cruelty. Misery. Free the Animals.

Thumbing through some Robert Frost poems, I was led to this one by Maya Angelou . I don't know if Frost ever had an influence on Angelou, but certainly any American poet living today would be familiar with Frost's work. Frost and Whitman are my favorite poets, and the romantic poets ( Keats, Byron, and Shelley ) I can't bear. I find their work dense, abstruse and impenetrable. It's just a matter of taste and connectivity. I am no expert on verse, but I will accept the opinion of those who are. They warn us that Frost's poetry is deceivingly simple. If we were to try our hand at it, to put complicated emotions into simple verse, we would be tied up in knots.

Anyway, Angelou's poem below, Caged Bird, touches on the plaintive cries, the longing for better things, that captive individuals must go through. You can apply the core meaning or sentiment of this poem to any situation involving imprisonment or captivity, human or animal. Think of the dog in a dank, dark ba…

Hiking. Protection Against Snake Bites. Gaiters.

You might wonder what on Earth are these? They are called, "gaiters," and fashion has nothing to do with them. Gaiters act like shin guards against briars and other thorny plants, worn by those who work outdoors like forestry rangers, ranchers, and farmers. Gaiters come in different styles and material, but they normally protect the ankles up to the knees.

This pair provides protection against snake bites. New material called SuperFabric makes protection possible without putting on the usual thick, cumbersome gaiters with polycarbonate sheets embedded in them. This pair is flexible and light, made by Whitewater. I got this pair from

I believe that such protection is necessary for hikers considering that rattlesnakes, copperheads, and cottonmouths are not rare along the trails, and they can be difficult to spot on the ground. I am willing to accept the prevailing theory that snakes, like most wild animals, will avoid hikers if given enough tim…