The killer whale Tilikum, who is the main subject of the 2013 documentary;”Blackfish” is sadly suffering from a serious lung infection, that will be the cause of his death.
The main focus of the documentary was to show that keeping these orcas in captivity affects their behaviour and mental state, which led to Tilikum killing 3 people. It is thought that Tilikum has caught the infection from bacteria in the tanks that he lives in, at SeaWorld, Florida.
Tilikum, likely to die early at aged only 35, won’t be the first orca to die with many, many years still potentially to live. There are many links with keeping these animals in captivity and early death which has caused major concern into how SeaWorld keeps the whales. Out in the wild, orca whales like Tilikum should be living to age 100.
A biology teacher from Balerno High School said: “To improve the conditions in enclosures you need to change the environment to suit an animal’s needs and behaviour and make the living conditions more like the natural wild conditions that orca whales should be living in.”
We spoke to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) about Tilikum and his background life. The conservation expressed their concern for how Tilikum has lived almost his whole life in captivity. A spokesperson from WDC said: ” I’d say captivity will have killed Tilikum when the day comes…”
SeaWorld maybe a place that promotes a fun and enjoyable day out for many people, but arguably it’s not for the orcas. We asked some S5 girls from Balerno High School their opinions and if they would go back to SeaWorld Florida. We received a variety of similar responses: “So sad and you wouldn’t treat humans like that.” “I would go to Florida but wouldn’t go near SeaWorld and wouldn’t pay them because the money is going to be spent on the captivity.” “Whales shouldn’t be blamed.” “Its heart breaking and they should be freed.”