Tilikum’s story has hit a nerve with people of all walks of life, all generations, all over the world. He was the prime example of what is wrong with orcas in captivity.
It is difficult to put Tilikum’s death into words. I have spent a lot of time staring at the news on my screen, almost in disbelief. I grieve knowing we couldn’t do more to help him, yet I celebrate that his suffering is finally over.
Click on image to play Tilikum's Last Splash - A Tribute
Video and Images all by Heather Murphy/Ocean Advocate News
Tilikum’s life has been horrific since his capture. His life at Sealand of the Pacific was torturous spending much of his day in darkness of the module. He was beat up by the females and separated in isolation.
At SeaWorld, Tilikum again spent much of his time in isolation. He was forced to provide sperm for artificial insemination. He was constantly on antibiotics and antipsychotic medications just to keep him going. That isn’t a life.
He was treated with antibiotics for years for his teeth and other ailments to the point where his immune system was completely shot. The antibiotics just weren’t effective anymore in fighting his most recent lung infection.
Please check out the interview I had yesterday on News Talk 770 Calgary where I talk more about Tilikum's life and the future of captive orcas.
We need to continue now more than ever to keep his legacy at the forefront, so that his life and death weren’t in vain.
It is too late for Tilikum, but it is not too late to move others to a sea pen. Now it is time for the remaining orca in captivity to retire with some dignity.