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February 26th, 2010
08:25 AM ET

Free Tilikum?

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=""] Veteran whale trainer Dawn Brancheau was killed earlier this week when Tilikum, the 12,000-pound killer whale, grabbed her ponytail and drowned her in front of Sea World onlookers. Originally captured off the coast of Iceland, the killer whale has been linked to two other deaths in the past. Experts say Tilikum is not to blame and is reacting to 25 years of captivity. However, as the world's number one captive orca stud, Tilikum is worth millions.

Our question: What should happen to Tilikum?

Leave us your comments. We’ll share some of them on air in the CNN Newsroom, 11am ET — 1pm ET

Filed under: Tony Harris
soundoff (239 Responses)
  1. curious1966

    They do not call these animals Killer Whales for nothing. Take any creature out of it's natural habitat & you are bound to get problems. How many ppl need to be killed before Seaworld realizes that this whale must be released?

    February 26, 2010 at 8:29 am |
  2. Jamz

    25 years? I think Tilikum his lived up to his end of the bargin and he is acting out that he is done. Let him go.

    February 26, 2010 at 8:37 am |
  3. michael armstrong sr.

    What if this Whale kills again how many lives will the judicial system allow this animal to take before they say enough is enough I myself am not a rights activist but in this case im on the Whales side turn this sea creature loose its owner will not turn it loose because of dollar signs and using adapting to the wild as an excuse not too but in reality its far more cruel to keep the whale confined turn him loose and let God decide its fate .

    February 26, 2010 at 8:44 am |
  4. michael armstrong sr.

    Maybe a $500.0000 law suit in punitive damages would convence Sea World to set him free money is the true reason for none release .

    February 26, 2010 at 9:23 am |
  5. Robert

    Humans have a long history of using animals for hard labor and for bringing in money. Confining a huge animal in a small pool when they are use to hundreds of miles to play and live is inhumane abusive treatment. It’s no different than tying a dog to a tree for its entire life.

    February 26, 2010 at 9:48 am |
  6. Katrina

    Gawd people who know nothing about Animals in captivity befuddle me! (But yet they're all experts). 25 years in captivity, setting this whale loose in the sea, it wouldn't live a week! She got overly comfortable with the wale and extended too much trust. Its an isolated event people, get over it. Put your hair in a Bun instead of a ponytail. A ponytail is a toy to a cat too! Captivity is all this whale has ever known, it can NOT survive in the wild! I concede that keeping animals such as this in captivity SHOULD be outlawed but in this instance, setting it free would only kill it. The very people hailing freedom for the wale (Which would certainly be a death sentence) are the same people on the beach trying to "Save" the beached whales! Is there no pleasing you people?

    February 26, 2010 at 9:50 am |
  7. kent

    Tilikum knows what freedom is and need to be set free. People need to find other entertainment like watching congress instead of whales.

    February 26, 2010 at 9:51 am |
  8. David R.

    It is very simple. Set him free. His transition back to wild will be much easier than the transition he had to make into captivity.

    February 26, 2010 at 10:27 am |
  9. Linda

    Tilikum needs to stay exactly where he is – in Orlando. That is where his pod is and that is where he is getting fed. I don't know enough about whales to comment on his behavior, but clearly, pony tails need to be pinned up and other safety precautions need to be taken. Personally, I would love to see him continue in the shows as well, but if that's not possible, at least let us see him through glass. I love that big ox, and don't blame him for what he considers normal behavior – I am not thoroughly convinced that he meant to kill her as prey.

    February 26, 2010 at 10:34 am |
  10. Carla

    I agree with Katrina. Everyone is saying free the whale, but what does anyone know about freeing an animal that has been in captivity for 25 YEARS! It's not just a few months, or a couple years, but 25 years! That whale wouldn't survive a week out in the ocean. It has relied on humans for food for 25 years. He wouldn't know the first thing about trying to catch his next meal out of the wild.

    February 26, 2010 at 10:40 am |
  11. Donna (Queens, NY)

    Tilikum, the 12,000-pound killer whale is wild animal regardless of how long it's been in captivity. It's important to remember this fact. Humans have been honored for so many years to be able to witness the majesty of this great whale like Tillkum and other animals in zoo's and circus'. I believe in my heart that anyone who works with wild animals understands the essence of these animals and would never want any harm done to these creatures. At this point, the whale or any animal cannot be set free but remember that a wild animal is always a wild animal.

    February 26, 2010 at 10:48 am |
  12. Free the whale

    FREE THE WHALE ALREADY!!!!!!!!!!!!! How many more times will it have to kill

    February 26, 2010 at 11:06 am |
  13. Deborah Clifton

    Set the killer whales free, in thinking about it, maybe we need to re-assess what animals are happy in captivity and which ones are not and set all those that are not free.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:07 am |
  14. Andrea R.

    I think they should leave him in Sea World. After all, Killer Whales are aggressive, look at their name. It was a total accident, so he should'nt be punished.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:07 am |
  15. Brian

    Not saying it should be this way but when a dog attacks someone they put it down. I think they should let it out to sea so it won't do it again.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:08 am |
  16. Arvid Nielsen

    Hey Tony,

    you are always doing a good job! Thank you!

    Tilikum should be left alone. I.e. no particular steps should be taken.

    Unless people in the know, believe the animal has somehow developed an inclination toward killing human beings, it must be deemed a very, very sad and unfortunate accident.

    Keep up the good work!

    February 26, 2010 at 11:08 am |
  17. carolyn

    Although the trainer's death is unfortunate, and a tragedy, the whale is only being a whale. to release the whale would be an injustice, due to the long term capitvity it has endured.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:08 am |
  18. walter crawley

    I think the whale should be put to sleep, the whale has been involed in three deaths or they should not use him again in the show.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:08 am |
  19. Rita

    Free Tilikum and fly him home to his pod. I'm sorry for the trainer's death but more sorry for the imprisonment of this creature who was forced to work for food.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:08 am |
  20. Dave A

    Its ok for a large corporation's animal to take the life of someone and the animal is spared, but a family dog attacks someone and they are forced to put the dog down. Where is this being fair?

    February 26, 2010 at 11:08 am |
  21. Tameka Gore

    I personally think that the whale should be let back out into the sea. It is a "Killer" Whale right? It has killed three people and without the right precautions, this will happen again.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:08 am |
  22. Sam

    I think we should let the poor whale go. When will we as a society abolish this archaic idea of keeping wild animals as slaves for our own amusement. Of course it attacked, I would attack my slave owners too.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:09 am |
  23. Jim

    Start feeding it reporters and talking heads and maybe the story will just fade away.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:09 am |
  24. Elise

    The whale should be returned to the sea. He has taken 3 lives already, how many more is he going to take. He needs to be set free no matter how much he is worth. Sea World has enough killer whales, I am sure the can use a different whale as a stud.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:09 am |
  25. Derek

    This is still a wild animal and is not intended to be captive. I have no remorse for her death. Free the animal.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:09 am |
  26. Connie

    The whale is innocent. It's a wild animal and belongs in the wild. Humans have tried to tame these animals and they forget that they were created to attack and at some point they will. Making profits at the expense of wild animals is cruel to say the least.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:10 am |
  27. Susan Giza

    I do not think that the killer whale knew any better. If the trainer has preformed with the whale before, than the whale would not have deliberately drowned her. I feel that the killer whale should just be preforming in a higher security area with more trainers and security guards; on top of that, they should train the whale more to make sure this doesn't happen again.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:10 am |
  28. Kevin

    Trainers willingly put themselves in the line of danger to perform their job, because they love the animals and what they do. Its a tragedy when something of this nature occurs, but similar to the incident with Steve Irwin, we need to look at the underlying issue, animals are wild, and can be dangerous. They need to be respected, and left to live, not caged, and made to do tricks. We have only ourselves to blame.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:10 am |
  29. Meredith

    Tili should not be killed for what he did. He was doing what comes natural to him. Orcas are WILD ANIMALS. They are not amusement park attractions and should not be treated as such. Since he is a captive whale, he can't just be released back into the wild. Sea World should send him to a wildlife sanctuary where he will be treated with respect and understanding, not as some sort of circus act. It should be illegal to have wild animals captive for human amusement.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:10 am |
  30. Jim


    The "killer" whale killed a human! the whale and the park should be held liable for this action.......

    There was a dog in my neighborhood, that bite an elderly lady and the dog was put down and the owner of dog was fined.

    If the park goes unpunished for the whale's action, then the park should be boycotted!


    February 26, 2010 at 11:10 am |
  31. Mary

    I think the whale has suffered enough, a whale is a wild animal, you can take the whale out of the wild, but you can't take the wild out of the whale. The whale is not inteneded to be kept in a little tank.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:10 am |
  32. Leah

    The whale shouldn't be put down. He's just an animal that doesn't know better, he probably didn't realize she couldn't breathe under water. He probably just wanted to play and thought, 'since she had the fish, maybe if I play with her,maybe i'll get some more.'

    February 26, 2010 at 11:10 am |
  33. Drea

    There are at least two whale sanctuaries I have heard of in South America. Set him free! I don't believe he would survive in the wild but he should be set free. He killed twice before (accidents...) Perhaps the "bathtub" is feeling a bit tight for him. FREE TILIKUM!

    February 26, 2010 at 11:11 am |
  34. Pat

    What should be done with the killer whale? Perhaps a better question is what should be done with the humans who capture wild animals, imprison them, expect them to do foolish tricks for their ridiculous idea of "entertainment" and then blame the poor animal when it can no longer take the abuse...

    When you choose to support abuse, you should expect to pay the consequences...shame on the humans, not the innocent whale.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:11 am |
  35. Jennifer

    FREE him yes... Im sorry he is a social animal and far to intellegent to be kept in a 'fish bowl' for human entertainment. Whales, dolphins and Elephants all three are on par with humans in their intellegence,, dolphins NAME themselves for goodness sakes! LET THEM GO...

    Some people so love money that it seems no matter how wrong, how cruel , they find a way to rationalize their mistreatment, abuse, or violences away and continue on collecting their paper dollars, uneffected ....even when their choices result in death to man or beast.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:11 am |
  36. ilenne

    No one knows, for sure, why this sad event happened. Although we feel badly for the woman and her family, we must remember that Tillikum is what he is......a wild animal. He acted as he would have, given whatever the circumstances were, in the wild. Revere his majesty and allow him to live out his life.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:11 am |
  37. Kay

    The way I see it. You play with fire adventually you will get burned. He is a wild animal no matter how much he is trained and no matter how much you try to tame him. He belongs out there not in a pool for people to get an amusement out of.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:11 am |
  38. John(Mott,Nd)

    After all It is a KILLER WHALE.. It is very sad,How ever She had to have known she was taking a risk every time she entered that whales domain.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:11 am |
  39. Paula Solis

    It's in the name. Killer Whale. It has never been a secret to those working near the animal that there would be a risk involved. It's not like the whale walked around calling itself Nemo trying to fool us of its nature. The animal should not be punished for doing what is simply in its animal instincts. Of course, Sea World should start taking greater precautions when working with such a deadly animal, but what they have is an entertainment business and nobody is going to travel to see nice friendly animals they could see at the pet store. This Killer Whale is a marketing tool and I think by keeping it they are making the best "business move" but not the safest for fans and employees. The animal should never have been there in the first place – it should be part of the natural ecosystem. It's in the name. Killer Whale.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:11 am |
  40. Evi Blaikie

    Obviously the whale can't be let loose, since it's been in captivity for so long, and it could no longer survive in the wild. Neither should he be put down. It's a KILLER Whale, for heaven;s sake. it's doing what is in his nature. He should never have been put in captivity! The aquarium is responsible for the trainer's death.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:11 am |
  41. James Murray

    After reviewing the events leading to the tragic death of Dawn Brancheau at Seaworld, Orlando FL on February 25th, 2010, I have concluded that, if at all feasible, Tlilkum should be re-introduced to his natural habitat. More importantly, moving forward, commercial exploitation of naturally selected species for human entertainment, should be banned.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:11 am |
  42. Jupp Kerckerinck

    The tragic death of a trainer at Sea World.
    One can never be 100% sure what prompted the Orca to kill the trainer, but there are several reasons for the animal’s behavior. Orcas and dolphins are meant to swim free in the ocean and not in a tank filled with chemically treated artificial saltwater..
    They are often subjected to hunger in order to perform those tricks. No tricks, no food. The argument that many of them have been born in captivity and therefore would not mind living in a “bathtub”, has been used for the children of slaves as well, but, of course, that is utter nonsense. This animal, just like all dolphins and orcas in captivity, should be set free and those tanks should be closed for good.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:12 am |
  43. Linda

    Of course they should keep and care for the killer whale! We, as human beings decided to play God and take the whale from his natural home and place him in an unnatural atmosphere. He can't be released as he is now used to being feed and would be unable to provide food for himself and he would died. Anytime you chose to interact with wild animals you have to accept the responsiblity and the possible danger. Steve Irwin was very aware of that and accepted that an animal injured him it was his fault, not the animals.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:12 am |
  44. Troyzkoi

    I think that the best thing to do is to build a giant tank and retire the old stud. Raise your own fish, let them loose in the tank so he can have fun catching his own delicious food.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:12 am |
  45. Fran

    Hi Tony
    We need to let these killer whales in the big wide ocean where they belong, we are keeping them in jail, we are doing this because of the money they make with these beautiul whales, its all about money.
    What a shame that we use them for that purpose only. We can see them on TV or any other place, so lets stop this ones and for all.
    Let them live out there lifes in the big ocean, lets stop this creed.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:12 am |
  46. kay king

    When you work with wild animals – you accept the risk. For 15-20 years this whale has been kept in small pools to use as money maker doing tricks for audiences – and as a sperm donor.

    We don't know why this happened – but it's not the whale's fault. This whale should be retired from trick service and moved to a much larger body of water. After so long, I don't know whether it could be returned to its pod or not.

    Wild animals should not be confined in small spaces just for human entertainment. It's not right – and we know it. It time to stop this!

    February 26, 2010 at 11:12 am |
  47. Andrea Hovel

    When are people going to learn that wild animals do not belong in captivity so that they can "entertain" us. They are not ours to use and abuse. This killer whale and all of the other animals at Sea World and in zoos and circuses should be allowed to go back to their natural habitats, and if that is not possible should be retired to sanctuaries where they can live out their lives in dignity.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:12 am |
  48. PATRICK C. F

    In no disrespect to the now three people that the whale has killed but it has 3 notches under its belt let it go into the wild. It is the top killer in the ocean, on top of every food chain in the ocean, I believe it'll do fine out in the open sea. in laymen terms "FREE WILLY"

    February 26, 2010 at 11:13 am |
  49. Jeffrey Young

    Tilikum deserves to be euthanised. This is the third attack attributed to this Orca. How many more will take place in the future? Maybe Star-Kist and 9 Lives should be allowed to bid for him...

    February 26, 2010 at 11:13 am |
  50. Amara

    Tili is related to two other human deaths . If a dog did this it might be dead already. Not that the whale should be killed, but it really should be put into retirement or in a place that is only for viewing. I don't think it should be put back into the show.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:13 am |
  51. Susan Dallen

    FREE TILLY!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 26, 2010 at 11:13 am |
  52. "D"

    Really, it's surprising that there are not more incidents with wild animals in captivity. It might seem easy to blame the whale, and I am sure many people feel he should be put down. As an animal lover, I blame Sea World for putting these animals under the stress of performing and training–and, I blame the public for continuing to support this industry. Just remember, no matter how many precautions you take, and how humanely wild animals in captivity are treated, the fact remains that their environments are not natural, nor are the behaviors they are forced to do in order to entertain us. Such a tragic death should not have happened.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:13 am |
  53. Kathy Baker

    There is an option here. Return the whale to natural enviornment. 3 deaths justifies this. Animals are put down all the time for hurting people at least in this situation a simple solution is out there.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:14 am |

    I wish Tilikum could talk, but it very clear , that he is not happy in captivity, let him free, let all animals alone ,why they used them to make money, alos is people fall because people feed this market , goin to the circus, zoo etc.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:14 am |
  55. Erica Goodrum

    They should return Tillkum (KILLER WHALE) back to the sea where they brought him from. Because of that "killer" whale, trainer Dawn Brancheau family will no longer see her ever again. Its sad to think that the next time I or my family go to Sea World I have to worry about people getting eaten by wild animals. That is not a memorable site when your trying to enjoy a fun time. I don't care whether that whale was worth a penny or billions to everyone else, its not worth it.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:14 am |
  56. Will

    I work with horses, and the gender is important. This is a big bull mammal in the water. Stallions are more dangerous than one might think. Everybody knows not to mess with the bull in the bullpen, so why would these common sense notions not apply to an Orca?

    February 26, 2010 at 11:14 am |
  57. Pat G

    This incident is tragic for the trainer's family and Tilikim. These intelligent large mammals should never be held in captivity. He should immediately be released to a sanctuary or rehabilitated for release in the wild if possible. It is highly irresponsible for Sea World to parade these animals for profit at the expense of park employees and the public. He snapped. Many of us would snap if we lived in a bathtub our intire lives.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:15 am |
  58. J.J.

    This should come as no surprise to most. Orcas like most marine mammals are highly intelligent creatures and are subject to mental stress like other animals. After all, they are called Killer Whales for a reason.


    February 26, 2010 at 11:15 am |
  59. Patrick

    They need to release him. This is a wild and highly intelligent animal that should not be kept captive. We can not take them out of the ocean and keep them happy in a bowl on land. Its not a horse or dog.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:15 am |
  60. Dave

    Nobody should be shocked that a trainer was killed by a killer whale. they're called killer whales. It would be shocking if someone was killed by a helper whale.

    The only thing that separtes killer whales from all the other killers is the fact that they are also whales.

    don't screw with stuff that screws back

    February 26, 2010 at 11:15 am |
  61. Homeless D in Atlanta

    Maybe the killer whale is like Jennifer Lopez in the movie and just said ENOUGH!

    Nothing should happen to the whale. In fact the whale should perhaps just be released into the ocean.

    Failing that, how about throwing a few more "trainers" into the pool for his enjoyment!

    The way these poor animals are penned up and made to perform is disgraceful.

    How would HUMANS like being put into tanks and made to jump on command?

    February 26, 2010 at 11:15 am |
  62. Terry King

    As you may know most people who work with marine animals
    think killer whales are THE most intelligent animal in all of the oceans.
    I therefore contend that this animal knew what it was doing as this was the third person it has killed. That makes him a serial killer. He
    should be shoot in the head as soon as possilbe.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:16 am |
  63. Mike

    What part of the word "Killer" in Killer Whale isn't understood? Of course you let the whale live. If we are going to take wild animals out of their habitat for the sake of millioins of dollars of commerce, then it's the trainers risk. The Killer Whale was probably just playing with the trainer anyway. Otherwise, put the whale back in it's free waters.

    Arlingtoin VA

    February 26, 2010 at 11:16 am |
  64. Nancy Bain

    How sad for all. Tilikum is not at fault. Animals live by different rules than humans, and rules that humans have yet to fully understand. I would love to see Tilikum free but this cannot be done as he has been human raised and could not survive in the wild. Since Orcas live in pods it would be wonderful if he could be allowed to live out his life with one or more of his species in a large area where he and other captives could associate.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:17 am |
  65. Ala, Virginia

    I think since this killing happened in Florida which has the death penalty the killer whale should be executed. The law should be the same for humans and animals.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:17 am |
  66. Chris Thomas

    This confined whale should be given a tank the size of a football field–at least! Imagine being forced to live your entire life in a room the size of a small bathroom You too, would go nuts. We should learn that it is tortureous to put a mamal that is used to the entire ocean as it's habitat, into a small pool and then wonder why it is pissed. Come On! This isn't hard to figure out!

    February 26, 2010 at 11:17 am |

    A human life is the most precious thing on the planet, except when we're talking Killer whales and the massive amounts of money they generate, for, Sea World.

    With three human lives to his credit Tillikum, the killer whale is, receiving, a defense reserved for a priest, who accidentally ran over a parishioner.

    Bottom line, if you go to Sea World and you spend money to see the shows, you are in essence supporting the deaths of three people, and the possibility of your child being traumatized for life.

    One life was too many three strikes and you're back in the wild.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:17 am |
  68. Lisa Weitzmann

    Tony, Tilikum should be rehibilitaed, if possible for him/her, and returned to the wild. It has been done. Animals should not be kept to entertain People. It has been documented with the last Killer whale/trainer incident that captive whales have stunted growth, die sooner than when in the wild and Also Die Emotionally- A Little Each Day When In Captivity. Would you and I as well???

    February 26, 2010 at 11:18 am |
  69. Lois D. Horowitz

    I believe Tilikum should be let go to a normal life back in Iceland waters, where he came from. This is a normal animal, maybe he thought he was playing with her. She showed him love and maybe this was he way of "playing" with her. We will never know!
    But we must prortect all those that work in his area. He has already been involved with two other deaths. I do not think his last handler would want to see him not enjoying life. I believe she would want to see him "back home" where he belongs with his fellow whales.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:18 am |
  70. grace

    If you have ever seen a Orca in the wild you could never go to sea world to see them.They should be free .It may be to late to reunite this whale with it's POD.This is a sad thing for people who love this women .I believe if she knew w/ could happen she would not have put her self in the tank. To think that an Orca whale feels like you do and connects like you do you are wrong.They are highly advanced animals .Not for entertainment. Look at what happened to Free Willy it died from lack of love and its pod connection.
    FREE the Whale

    February 26, 2010 at 11:18 am |
  71. Garrett

    Could it have been an accident? From what has been described it seems plausible that her hair could have unintentionally been caught in the whales mouth/teeth, which would have resulted in the trainer being pulled under the water, and then the “trashing” may have been the animal trying to free himself.

    I may be giving Tilikum too much credit here but it should at least be considered. I think if a killer whale is going to attack you he will grab a significant chunk than your ponytail.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:19 am |
  72. Yolanda Rainford

    Comments directed towards the Whale, I feel that it is time to set the Killer Whale free.The only thing is now this animal may not even be able to servive in the ocean because they often live in groups.Its so sad what we do to animals to study and observe and even to enjoy
    watching them learn human tricks. Please advise them to let him go,let him enjoy the rest of its life out of captivity in its own envirement.


    February 26, 2010 at 11:19 am |
  73. Marsha

    I can't believe there's even a debate. My first thought when I heard the news on CNN about the trainer being killed was "that poor whale must be so frustrated and sad." That's not to say that I don't sympathize with the family of the victim, but it is an 11-thousand-pound mammal held in captivity. No matter how big the simulated area created for this creature is, it is a bathtub-size prison to these beautiful creatures. It's a no-brainer, set him free and the others too. I am embarrassed for us, the human race. We have become a society in which we truly think if we enjoy it then it must be okay. This incident as well as the Chimpanzee that attacked the woman mauling her face beyond recognitiion are blatant signs that we need to have a HUGE shift in our self-absorbed, self-entitlement thinking.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:19 am |
  74. Lionel Wade

    "Killer whale" kills 3X's, duh

    February 26, 2010 at 11:20 am |
  75. Homeless D in Atlanta

    And quit reporting that the whale was "linked to two toerh deaths in the past". Saying it that way makes it sound like the poor creature is a serial killer!

    In at least one case the homeless guy apparently thought it was a good idea to go swimmung in the whale pool! I call that an act of stupidity on the part of the HUMAN, not a 'killing' on the part of the whale!

    And wasn't the other 'killing' some sort of accident due to several whales maybe playing a little too rough with the 'trainers'?

    Give the pool whale a break! He's not Jeffrey Daumer!

    February 26, 2010 at 11:20 am |
  76. Barb

    I think it's time that we get rid of zoos and water parks. These are our animal brothers and sisters. We keep them locked up and teach them "cute" tricks to bring the people in so as to make money. "THINK", what it must be like to be locked up all your life (in small quarters no less).

    There other ways to create income for research or for whatever the reason is. I believe we as a species have come along way in a short period of time. We must show compassion for all!

    February 26, 2010 at 11:20 am |
  77. Nancy

    I wouldn't like to see him made into cat food, but during their migration, take him out to sea, and do not attach a monitor to him, and let nature take it's course.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:20 am |
  78. Jane Partain

    I am hoping that Tillikum will be retired and maybe eventually phased back into the wild if he could survive after being in captivity for so long. It was a tragic thing for the trainer to be killed, but how many more deaths will it take?

    February 26, 2010 at 11:20 am |
  79. Will

    Is this progress or what? We've gone from lions in the arena to dancing bears and balancing elephants on big rubber balls to Orca's on parade, dancing around Sea World and occasionally drowning a trainer...

    February 26, 2010 at 11:21 am |
  80. Patrick

    Will your right this is an animal 12 times the size of an average sized horse. Stallions are often the most dangerous animal on the farm. Guess why? Its there unpredictability, not agresion. Dont turn your back or you get bit. Give the whale back.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:22 am |
  81. Sheileen Kew

    Are we forgetting that these animals are called 'KILLER' whales? These animals were not created to bounce balls and wave and to catapult their trainers into the air. These animals are meant to be free. I have not and will not pay money to see these shows. It makes me sick to hear that they are going to 'keep' Tilikum because of his monetary value. A woman is dead and Tilikum will live on to 'wave' another day.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:22 am |
  82. john kesrouan

    None of the networks had any problem showing the Georgian luger's accident. and no video of this woman's death has been shown. Did you show the luger's death video because he was a foreigner and now refuse to show this woman's accident because she's an American?

    February 26, 2010 at 11:22 am |
  83. Jason

    There is absoloutely no need to destroy Tilikum for killing his trainer. The fact that people want this to happen worries me to no end. All the trainers know precisely what risks are involved. All spectators watch these shows thinking this could happen....wake up America!

    February 26, 2010 at 11:22 am |
  84. Nancy

    Who captured Tilikum and why? Why do so many humans feel they have a right to end animals' natural lives by removing them from their habitat and families, and then forcing them into a new life by doing what they want with them for their own entertainment and profit? I ask, why WOULDN'T Tilikum do what he did? You say he's kept in a 15-foot deep pool away from other Killer Whales – this is like putting a human in a bathroom, not allowing him or her to leave and only have occasional family visitors for a lifetime. People are put in jail for doing that kind of thing to others! WHY is okay to do that to animals?! It simply isn't right. Tilikum needs to have much larger accommodations and to be allowed to socialize regularly with his own kind or be introduced back to Iceland if there is any chance of that being successful.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:23 am |
  85. Patti Varchetto-Shearer

    When you accept the job as trainer you accept the risks that go with the job. Although my sympathy goes out to the trainer's family, I feel sure that she accepted the responsibilities and risks. Sea World has made millions of dollars by taking this poor creature from it's natural habitat, containing it in a tank, and breeding it 13 times. I feel that the whale should continue to perform at Sea World because it knows nothing else and it could not survive in the wild after all these years. I am sure the trainer loved him and would want this for him.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:23 am |
  86. KaosMgr

    Tilikum should not be killed, but released back into the wild. Whale biologists should satellite-tag him and simply study his reentry into the wild kingdom. We all know that Tilikum is a huge "money maker" for Sea World, and they use him as "big daddy stud". But how is this any different from "slavery"? How many more people does this what have to splash, or how many more hoops, twists, flips, belly-flops, etc., does he have to do, to regain his freedom? Isn't 25 years of servitude ENOUGH?

    Tilikum will do just fine if he is released. He will need to re-acclimate himself with his new "tank-less" environment, but as long as he is reintroduced in an area where other Killer Whales (KWs) lurk, then he should be able to follow other KWs in their feeding habits.

    Sea World has reaped tens of millions of dollars for the "tricks" they've made this whale and other KWs do. Besides feeding him fish and allowing him to impregnate female KWs to produce more imprisoned KWs, what more does this whale have to do?

    Sea World should stop the senseless exploitation of these animals, and in defense of this particular KW, they should do the humane thing and release the KW back into the wild.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:24 am |
  87. Ken

    Nothing should happen to Tilikum! That whale was simply playing and it had no idea that it was drowning the trainer. People act as though we can keep wild animals as pets and personalize them or expect them to act like humans. As though they should know better that you are drowning your trainer. It's a killer whale and could not survive in the wild anymore and the idea of killing Tilikum is ludicrous. If anything the show must go on! Tilikum will probably continue performing as usual, it's people at must learn.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:24 am |
  88. michael armstrong sr.

    Turn the Whale loose before it kills again Sea World is putting the Whales right to life before a humans life if they dont set it free then the authorities needs to put it down and charge Sea World for manslauter .

    February 26, 2010 at 11:26 am |
  89. miracle

    Nothing, Exccept more safety prcedures for staff. As far as the program. It's not for education, it's for profit. It should not "be" and now folks will pay to see a killer whale that has killed and Sea World will profit big time. It's the American way. If they use that whale for profit the money should go to the family of the victom, she earned it.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:27 am |
  90. Jon Chapin

    Tony I don't think they should anything to tilikum. I am wondering was
    this that time of the month for the young lady, and would that have had
    anything to do with why this happend. Our was it because he was
    lonesome wanted to play not understanding what would happend

    Jon ,Cheyenne, Wyo.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:27 am |
  91. Derek Young

    We should all be taken back by this tragic accident and learn from our mistakes. This is a 12,000-pound killer whale we are talking about, no one is at fault but ourselves thinking that we can capture a wild animal and thinking that we can make it what we want it to be. Society doesn't get the fact that we can't make a wild animal our little curious pet. We need to understand the fact that Humans can't control and dictate the animals life without some kind of repercussions. I believe Tilikum Should be left go, Everyone needs to stop being greedy and using animals to put money in there pockets. I would like to see this animal out in the wild swimming in packs than see one in captivity slowly dieing for everyone so the "new owner" of this once wild animal can keep shoveling money in his own pockets.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:28 am |
  92. jerod

    I find it interesting when people die while handling animals of any kind. Dealing with animals is frought with problems. First, we as humans in dealing with animals humanize the creatures we are in constant aquaintance. This incident is not news to those compiling the statistics of farm animal related deaths. Last I checked, deaths from farm animals per year exceeded that of planes trains and automobiles combined. The news of this story is rooted in the fact that the use of this animal to us is for his sperm and his display to crowds of onlookers. One would be silly to think that caging up an apex hunter and making him do tricks would be relatively safe, no matter the level of intellect and compassion this creature displays. Seaworld needs to keep making use of his sperm, put him in a bigger tank, and shows should be done without any persons within a 15-foot pole's distance. If releasing this now long term domesticated animal were an option, I would suggest that as the first option. Lastly and foremost this is not a case of killer whale killing and needing to have insurance companies sue for restitution, but rather a case of humans humanizing animals at the cost of their lives. Every interaction, whether it be between humans or animals and humans, is a roll of the dice. Its just sad that this happens, but it is human nature.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:29 am |
  93. Gene

    After so many years relying on people to live, a wild animal would die in the wild if released. Then making this animal perform silly tricks for human entertainment amplifies the danger. I heard one witness to the attack say the trainer would pet the whale to streghten their bond. That shows the ignorance of sea worlds customers! The trainer was and never would be a part of that bull whales pod period. If sea world was just a rehabilitation facility that would be fine but they are not. They have no intention of releasing their "attractions". The best way to prevent this from happening is stop using animals for our own selfish enterainment! If you play with matches you will eventually get burnt. Unfortunately this trainer got burnt. The fact that people were surprised about the attack is much more shocking than what the wild KILLER whale did to the trainer, or the other two people this whale got ahold of . Sea world should let wild animals be wild unless they're injured or sick. If at all possible, they should rehabilitate and release, not look at the animal and see dollar signs! All animals are here for a reason and human entertainment isn't the reason!

    February 26, 2010 at 11:35 am |
  94. michael armstrong sr.

    Any animal that kills or mams a human is normally uthenized if this had been a dog or a lion or a monkey it would be dead by now set this creature free or else put it down .

    February 26, 2010 at 11:35 am |
  95. Cynthia

    If you take a wild animal out of it’s own habitat and try to Domesticate it you will soon see the wild side come out. Tilikum has been part of the show for 25 years blaming her for our mistakes is wrong. I’m not saying Dawn Brancheay did anything wrong but somewhere along the line communications broke down between human and animal. Maybe with Dawn’s pony tail floating around in the water Tilium thought it was a fish swimming.. I don’t believe that Tilikum meant to harm her trainer. But when you deal with wild animals their wild instincts kick in. I also agree with Katrina setting an animal back into the wild after 25 years of confinement would surely be the death of her. Remember “Free Willie”? If they are born and raised in small areas and trained by humans to entertain then humans need to learn and except the responsibility of what nature may bring. No matter if born in the wild or in captivity wild animals will always carry that wild instinct. It is very sad what happen to Dawn and I am sure she knew what could happen.
    Wild animals don’t ask to be put up for display for our entertainment. We either need to leave them in their own habitats or learn to deal with what nature deals out.
    Tilikum should not be released but put into her own beautiful place and treat her well and let people admire her from a distance. Let her live out the rest of her life FREE FROM ENTERTAIMENT.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:36 am |
  96. jackclark

    Tony, I think the Japanese have a name for killer whales I think it is susy

    February 26, 2010 at 11:36 am |
  97. michael armstrong sr.

    This Whale is a meal ticket for Sea World there not about to set it free or put it down its time for the authoritys to step in .

    February 26, 2010 at 11:43 am |
  98. Terry King

    What do you mean moderation. I didn't mean to say anything more moderate. If this were a dumb animal my feelings would be more moderate. The other killer whales at this park have killed no one. On the land it's us. In the Ocean it is killer whales. I think this animal knew exactly what it was doing and had a good time doing it. He's a
    murderer and should be dealt with accordingly. I am sorry I have offended your little feelings though. Watch you all the time.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:43 am |
  99. michell

    Hey Tony, The answer is easy...dont mess with mother nature.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:47 am |
  100. jonny calie

    Hello! Do not get in to a pool with a wild mammal called a "killer whale". It is def. not the whales fault. Come on people!!!

    February 26, 2010 at 11:47 am |
  101. Jeffrey Rothstein

    Animals live much longer in captivity because they do not have to forage for food, avoid predators or deal with natural dangers. The accident was unfortunate but the animal should stay where it is. If let out to sea it probably would not survuve as skills for foraging have been erroded during the twenty-five years in captivity.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:48 am |
  102. Kathy

    Please, let us finally do the right thing after all these years and free this whale. I understand this whale was born in the wild and was taken into captivity when it was young. While I understand and agree with the need for education, keeping this whale captive has been nothing more than a cruel, life sentence for the creature. There is no doubt that Sea World is in business for the money, not for educational purposes.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:48 am |
  103. Chase

    The trainer knew the job and signed on for it. The whale should not and cannot be blamed for for this. But, the whale should not be released. It is a magnificent creature, people should be able to see that.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:49 am |
  104. charles

    The situation at Sea World is just like 9-11. We don't know what's going on, why the killer (whale) acted as he did, or what his capability. An American has died. The way forward is clear. Waterboard the whale until he reveals all.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:50 am |
  105. Damen Wiggins

    The whale should be released back in to its natural habitat. Why penalize the whale? It did not choose to be captive. This is obvious a whale the should not be around people.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:51 am |
  106. roberthelder

    when are people going to learn? Wild animals are wild animals they always will be. Every time somebody gets hurt they ask why. Well the answer is simple. Even dogs and cats will attack humans. Even humans attack humans. When are we going to learn? It is and always will be our own fault for being narcissistic.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:54 am |
  107. Matthew


    My comment on the killer whale incident is the following:

    1) Killer whales like any wild animal species should be let alone in the wild. They are not ment to be used for intertainment or keep as a pet. People do not understand that keeping an animal or mammal out of the wild is not to favor anyone us or them.
    2) If you have a mammal that is raised in captivity, it will only go back to its instincts and act accordingly no matter how much you train or try to domesticate it.
    3) It realy makes me ill to see these animals or mammals forced to act like a circus clown for our entertainment. IT IS WRONG, and there needs to be some kind of change. I also understand that you have to keep certain animals from the wild to avoid extinction.

    Finally, leave wild animals and/or mammals alone and let them free!!

    February 26, 2010 at 11:55 am |
  108. Ross

    The name Killer is in the name of the animal. Let Tilikum be free as nature intended. We can't blame an animal for being unhappy in captivity. If they don't free Tilikum then they will take the PR hit the next time it may act violenly bc then it is truely about money over safety!!!!

    February 26, 2010 at 11:56 am |
  109. Kathy Young

    Free the whale. If it only lives a few hours in the ocean at least it's had a taste of freedom. Maybe it will acually get to eat a live fish instead of the dead ones that are thrown to it. They say it will die in the ocean well they say alot of things. How do they know?

    February 26, 2010 at 11:56 am |
  110. michael armstrong sr.

    Charles now thats funny but I think the Whale might like that .

    February 26, 2010 at 11:58 am |
  111. Yolanda R.

    I truly believe that this killer whale should not have been kept in captivity. Its was removed from its naturial environment , and its herd .
    Whales comunicate using certain sounds. This animal may have forgotten his. It may not be able to survive long in the ocean by itself.
    25 years is a long time, retire him let him be free for the last of his years. We understand that they will lose a lot of money! But have some respect for this animal.


    February 26, 2010 at 11:58 am |
  112. Peter Chetirkin

    Ask yourself the question, why is Tilikum in captivity? Breeding is an unreasonable answer, because animals in captivity are stressed immeasurably and therefore the offsprings genetically have less vigor and a poor immune system that poses significant problems in keeping the animals in reasonable health. To say education is absurd, what can you teach the youth about a captured animal, remember the animal is stressed and is not in it's normal environment. The correct answer is profit (MONEY) for the scum that runs these facilities and amusement for the public. Disgusting!

    February 26, 2010 at 11:59 am |
  113. Cynthia

    When we take wild animals and domesticate them then it becomes our responsibility to deal with nature. This Killer Whale was trained by humans for 25 years. It becomes our mistake in the training of this animal, not the animals mistake. Murder is a strong word with out really understanding the minds of animals being used for entertaiment. If we don't want to take the risk then we need to stop using Wild animals and leave them in their own habitats it's a risk they take. Here we did take the risk and now it is turning into a blame game but not murder.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:59 am |
  114. watchtvcom

    Killer whale should become part of Florida's criminal judicial system by being used to execute people that kill other people. A fair amount of money would be saved. Quick and easy, and I'm sure many would want to watch.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:59 am |
  115. fred B.

    If this was a human that that had cause this much lost of life or associated with the lost of life we would be seaking a death sentence. This animal has caused the death of three people. We dont even put, this much trust in humans to do the the right thing if giving the chance. I guest thats what the world is coming to. When we value an animals life more than a human. God gave man dominon over animals not the other way around. Wake up sea world.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:09 pm |
  116. Leona

    I do not think they should set it free since it would not be able to survive after 25 yrs in captivity. Keito the whale from the Free Willy movie did not make it. But I do believe it should be outlawed to continue to force these animals to perform.... it is like slavery.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:10 pm |
  117. bob

    why do you think they're called killer whales?

    February 26, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
  118. Laura

    This is a wild animal, and should be released, if possible. Perhaps a sanctuary is out there somewhere, with a slow adjustment back to the wild way of life? We (humans) created this, and we should fix it. Haven't we moved beyond seeing animals as useful for our entertainment, no matter what the cost to the animals' well-being??

    February 26, 2010 at 12:18 pm |
  119. william ryals

    It is very unlikely that home prices and sales are going to rebound any time soon. The artificial housing market during the last ten years has created a glut of homes and frankly home construction should be slowed down to a rate less than the rate that houses are torn down. Expecting the house construction to create jobs in the near future would be a huge mistake. We must reestablish manufacturing in this country before the economy will really turn around. I would suggest that a requirement that all retailers be required to carry a percentage of american made products of certain types such as tv's be put into place. That would do more to put people back to work than any other program and it would be cheaper and easier to enforce.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:23 pm |
  120. tony mazzotti

    the realestate problem is the result of self inflated liers who took over communities and labour with forien aggressers,so not only is the quality not there or the value or people to even afford them.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:25 pm |
  121. tina james

    Just free Tilikum like did for Willie!

    February 26, 2010 at 12:26 pm |
  122. Anthony Ebo

    Free the whale. It is animal cruelty. Seaworld can use these animals for entertainment and make billions of dollars but dogfighting is bad?

    February 26, 2010 at 12:27 pm |
  123. Stef

    As horrible as it may sound, this is by -nature- a dangerous creature. If we try to take the nature out of the animal, it will still find a way to act/lash out. I don't think that it should be killed or released, it's simply doing what comes naturally.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:27 pm |
  124. Kay

    Free Willy!!!

    February 26, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
  125. Cathy

    Why do people not realize that they are called "Killer" whales for a reason? Put them all back into their natural environment and stop this barbaric act of keeping them prisoner for our own vain amusement!

    February 26, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
  126. Adrian

    I believe that if the whale was knowledgeable enough to be trained, then it was very possible for it to be angry and wanting to attack

    February 26, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
  127. Valerie

    He is a killer whale right? He thought she was a seal! Don't kill something for living up to what he is.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
  128. brenda

    send it to a marine reserve, but it should not be killed. that animal did not ask to be domesticated, it should not be punished.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
  129. Kevin Clotfelter

    Your dog gets to friendly and wants to play? He may nip your hand or hump your leg. Were talking about a 12,000 pound whale. His type of play definitely wont tickle. Don't blame the Whale.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
  130. Abigayle

    This is not the first time this has occurred. The fish should be brought up on charges and face criminal prosecution as a repeat offender. I'm sure it would get the best legal council possible.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
  131. Alexander

    The name of the whale is Killer! The trainers know what they are in for when they begin working with the whales. The whales probably have a better life in captivity. They should not have to let the whale go.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:29 pm |
  132. Ian L.

    Dear Sir,
    I believe it is in the mammals best interest that he be kept and cared for, just as he has been all along. He will not be able to survive in the wild since , he knows no other way than to be looked after. Typically, when these large creatures cannot adapt to their environment, they pass away.
    I really believe, that just for a moment, the young trainer identified with the whale so closely, that she temporarily forgot how much larger, and, without meaning to, how much damage it could do to her. The fact that the whale grabbed her hair and not another area demonstrates that he thought he was playing with her, as a child would with a toy.
    Forget about P.E.T.A. and what they have to say. They are a perfect example of 'trouble – makers'. Just yesterday, Tiger Woods' attorney had to file a petition to stop them from putting up a bill-board encouraging "Spaying And Neutering" somewhere near-by. I had a brief glimpse of the wording of it, and it derided Mr. Woods. It was on local news last night

    February 26, 2010 at 12:29 pm |
  133. Sarah smith

    The blame for this incident should not be held to the animal but on a society that has consistsntly pushed animals to their thresholds. Shame on sea world for not recognizing a distressed animal earlier

    February 26, 2010 at 12:29 pm |
  134. Brenda Rau

    The whale is a wild animal who unfortunately has been captured by humans and now probably cannot be released back into the wild and survive. He is the victim here, not the offender. There is no reason to think that he was trying to kill her, so why would we kill him? He is too valuable as a member of a species that humans have driven to extinction. He should live.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:29 pm |
  135. Aaron

    Put him back in the ocean where it came from. Its up to nature if it survives, not some Seaworld expert. And its not up to some criminal law judge to decide on its death. Put that animal back! Seaworld needs to switch to Dolphins or close down. 3 strikes your out.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:30 pm |
  136. Cassi Cantrell

    Tilikum has a "violent past?" He's a killer whale, give the guy a break. I'd be mad if you named me Tilikum too. Let him go unless he's not able to survive on his own. In that case, let him retire to a tank that trainers don't swim in.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:30 pm |
  137. Pamela

    To kill this whale would be in humane. It is NOT this whales fault it is being kept in a swimming pool, and away from the ocean where it is free to be a WHALE! Just like any animal, they have instincts, and feelings. You maybe able to train them, but the instints are a part of their genetic makeup. Those will never go away. If you keep animals like this in the enviornment where they are stared at, and made to do tricks for food, then you take the risk of being hurt or killed while doing so! That fact is as sad as the fact that this whale never had a choice to be left in the ocean where it was born and belonged!

    February 26, 2010 at 12:30 pm |
  138. Alexandra

    If the whale is reacting to being in captivity, then perhaps he should be released back into the wild. I do not think he is to blame at all, he is a wild animal and there are certain wild
    animals that cannot be tamed.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:31 pm |
  139. Mary Favia

    I think they should put the killer whale back in the ocean where it belongs. Its very sad what happend to that trainer however its still a wild animal and they take that chance every day they go to work with these animals.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:31 pm |
  140. Shannon

    In no way is this wild animal at fault. Humans are always quick to blame someone or something else other than themselves.

    Quit blaming the animals for acting out on instinct.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:31 pm |
  141. Lauren

    I think it's heartbreaking that humans treat animals like they are our little puppets. Obviously, what happened was an accident and my thoughts go out to the trainers friends and family but I geniunely feel bad for the whale. Nature did not intend for these magnificent creatures to be locked up and made to perform tricks all day, everyday. If there is a safe sanctuary type of place for the whale to be released-after 25 years of service, I think he deserves it. This obviously has a psychological effect these whales. People need to be aware that animals CAN and DO feel pain, terror, sadness, joy, and have innate needs that they deserve to have met. Very sad.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:31 pm |
  142. Peg MacMullen

    I put the question back to you. What would you do with a whale that was captured by man and forced to live a life fighting for little bits of food each day in little tanks by following a list of man-made, designated tricks, and that was it for your livelihood for thereafter. My heart goes out for that poor girl and her family. My heart also goes out to all those whales and our poor misguided HUMAN souls who captures wild, beautiful animals who need to be free in their wild and deep sea.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:31 pm |
  143. Shirley Silbert

    This whale should have been freed long ago. But then it's all about Sea World's money isn't it. He's too valuable to set free. Death in the wild may be preferable to life at a theme park.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:31 pm |
  144. Johnna Gresham

    The killer whale should be returned to it's original home.
    I think it is very disrespectful to the family of the trainer to keep the whale there.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:31 pm |
  145. donna

    This is an animal. We cannot understand every part of that animals psychy. You cannot blame the animal for behavoir we cannot fully understand. It sounds as if this whale needs more "free time" and socialization with his own kinds. This 'accident' was so sad and my heart goes out to the trainers family and friends.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
  146. gayle arney

    Free the whale!!!

    February 26, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
  147. Andre

    Ask republicans, maybe they want a hire a whale undercover

    February 26, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
  148. Jay

    Tony, the Killer Whale should be returned to the wild. The tragedy has changed the psychology of handling this animal at Sea World.

    Usually when wild animals in captivity kill human beings they are killed.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
  149. David Okeke

    Let the whale go back to sea or put him down, If not, he'll kill again!

    February 26, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
  150. Carl

    We call them "killer" because they are cute little cats. They
    should be in the wild where they belong.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
  151. Ron

    The whale should be freed! It has a history, and no manner of training will forever change its behavior. We must not forget it is a wild animal who has only been taught to perform tricks and should not be expected to conform to our silly requests always!

    February 26, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
  152. Ray Malson

    Hi Tony.. just a comment as to where we maybe have evolved... if this had been a $200 pit bull(dog)it would have been put down at the first sign of aggressiveness.. but a 2 million dollar, 12,000 pound beast is not put down after the third death it has been involved with... so somewhere between $200 and 2 million is the value of a human life... is this really where we have gotten too?? please say it isn't so.... i think this beast should be released or killed.. if it's kept, it will happen again ...

    February 26, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
  153. Kevin Clotfelter

    Tilikum, Is a stud. Even if another 50 years goes by without another tragic event, We still need a strong breed of Whale. You could say Tilikum comes or forms a Champion bloodline. Worth millions.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
  154. LatteLily

    Hi Tony, from what I understand, this will make the third human death this whale is responsible for. After 40 years of service to Sea World, I think the trainer's immediate family should have the right to decide whether the whale should be killed. It would be the honorable thing (to allow the family to decide) for Sea World to do, since the trainer has given so many years and her life as their employee.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
  155. michael armstrong sr.

    This whale will hear the cry's from other Whales and follow them to the feeding ground the Whale will not starve comments about it getting harmed by boats is just a Sea World scam to keep its meal ticket set it free at least it would have a chance to live a free life even for a short time it would be better then captivity .

    February 26, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
  156. Crystal

    Animals of this size should not be kept in captivity. Are we as people so caught up on money that we don't see that wild animals should be kept wild not in a tank for us to look at. These animals are beautiful creatures we should admire when we see them in their natural environment in the great big ocean not some tank. It just make me angry to see them in such a small tank.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
  157. Jeff

    Hmm. "Save the Whales!", right? They're supposedly so intelligent that he must have had a reason to kill those people. Maybe they abused him. Perhaps he should be Mirandized by the Obama administration and given his day in court. I'm sure some trial attorney would take the case.

    But here's a simpler solution....FREE WILLY!!

    February 26, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
  158. Jeff Johansen

    I am not sure what should happen to the whale. But I do know it should not be left up to the owners of an animal who has been involved in three human deaths to determine it's fate. In many places pet dogs are put down if they are involved in a fatal attack no matter what the owner wants. I could not imagine a dog being allowed to live long enough to be involved in three seperate fatal incidents. The fact that the whale is a money maker should not be a factor.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
  159. Bill

    The wild animals confining authority is responsible for insuring the safety to whatever the animal has access.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
  160. B. Olney

    FREE WILLIE the movie is a grand idea. If this killer whale has
    killed before, he should be set free before he communicates these
    bad thoughts to the other whales. they do communicate so I,ve been told.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
  161. Phyllis Marrero

    I don't think the whale should be punished, she is wild and is just acting according to her nature. If she is very important as a major breader, then she should be handled as a dangerous mamal and should not be used to entertain the public.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
  162. Stephen

    Let him go. He shouldn't be around humans any more, anyway. He's made people a lot of money. He should get to be free the rest of his life.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
  163. Dan Harris

    Seaworld is just all about making money. No matter that this animal has now killed three people they still have plans to keep it and most likely eventually return it to their show once the horror of it all blows over. And as long as trainers line up to get those jobs they have no incentive to change their ways. Seaworld has so commercialized killer whales into nothing more than circus performers and we've all seen elephants and lions freak out and kill their trainers as well, so why should anyone be so surprised by this.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
  164. Hamzah

    Tony, it really is quite simple. Free Tilikum, and I'll tell you why. Simply put, Tilikum is a wild animal. You can contain a wild animal through the expert forms of domestication, but you cannot entirely remove the wildness from the beast. To kill Tilikum would be pointless, because that would only find another wild Orca in Tilikum's place to eventually commit the same thing. I can sympathize with and understand the human benefits of containing animals for zoo-like functions, but, to say the very least, some animals should not be contained, maybe, on the basis of size, wildness, I'm not sure, but there are some animals that should not be held captive, and I think whales and Orcas in general should really be reconsidered. I think their public perceived intelligence and gentleness may be overrated.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
  165. Janice

    Based on the news report I heard this morning fom the trainer who trined the ORCA and the woman who trgically lost her life – the ORCA was not at fault. It was apparant that the trainers at SeaWorld took precautions around that whale and unfortunately the trainer made a mistake that cost her her life.

    I am certain that SeaWorld is putting into place new safety protocols that will hopefully prevent this kind of tragedy in the future.

    I think the ORCA is well cared for based on the long healthy life he has lived thus far. He does not deserve to be punished since he apparantly was attempting to play with the trainer and didn't intend to do harm to her.

    I do think however that SeaWorld might build a bigger pool to allow the animal more room to dive deeper and alllow the depth to correct the fin that has fallen down as well as introduce playmates for this animal that may be missing social stimulation.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
  166. Pastor Brooks

    My comment would be they really need to let Tilkin go. If you recall or if you have heard from animal specialist, they say that if the Fin in the center of there back is curled over it indicates a few things, stress, anxiety,complacency.

    When you see them in the open sea the same fin is straight and erect pointing skyward meaning they are happy, and in their normal habitation. So, Yes , Free Tilkin as well as the other orcas.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
  167. Tonya

    I think the whale should first be trained to live alone in the wild again and then let go back where he is from. Sea worlds only looking at the money making aspect of it. Killer Whales are one of the smartest and he will only do what come natural to him which is killing. I dont think another family should have to grieve bc of this whale. I also dont think he should be killed either.. just rehabilitate him back into the wild.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:35 pm |
  168. Sandi in CA

    Tony, as sad as a loss of life is, the fact remains that people who work with wild animals know the dangers, the same for astronauts, police officers, race car drivers, and so on. No, this beautiful animal should not be put down. The right thing to do is to provide more of a natural habitat for animals in captivity. It's too late to set him free.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:36 pm |
  169. Frances

    The things they have these animals doing simply isn't natural. Animals weren't put on this Earth for our amusement. Taking them from their natural habitat and shoving them into a pool full of water to do tricks and flips is wrong. If people want to witness the beauty of the Whales and all other animals, that's fine... But the least we can do is let them live somewhat normal lives like they would in the ocean. They're beautiful animals, and we could all enjoy and appreciate their beauty watching them do what they naturally would. It's a shame lives have been lost, but the Whale shouldn't have to pay for it. These are WILD animals, just because you take the animal from the wild doesn't take the wild out of the animal.
    I personally find it sad these animals are captured and their life is measured by how much money they draw in. It's disgusting, and wrong.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:37 pm |
  170. Karen Davis

    Either let him go free because he is a "KILLER WHALE" or put him to sleep like you do any other animal that kills, Dogs, Monkeys,ect.... or do we just keep Tilikum because he's a MONEY maker??? You know it's been said "The LOVE of money is the root of evil"

    February 26, 2010 at 12:37 pm |
  171. lorraine flagge

    Tony I belive the Orca whale at Sea World should be set free at the place where he was captured. This way he could find an Orca pod and mybe start a pod of hisown. Right now he is being used as astud for sea World. He really doesn't have enough room to move around. As humans we know what it feels like to be put in tight spaces. Let the Orca GO! lorraine in tennessee

    February 26, 2010 at 12:38 pm |
  172. Mark

    I don't believe this whale would survive very long if set free, it has relied on people for way too long. On the flip side using him as a performer day after day may have reached the end. What needs to be done is outlawing getting into the pool with these animals and let people admire them for who they are, through the glass wall.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:38 pm |
  173. Trish

    It should not be about, "What should happen to the whale?", but what should happen to the ignorant, greedy owners of these places that do not provide for their needs. Giraffe's, lions, gazelle's, and all the rest who run the plains were made to run, just as whales were made to swim, to swim deeply, to take off and soar fast, to bask, to do whatever else is right for them as whales. When their tanks cannot even allow them to dive let alone race through the water, whoever owns them should realize the consequences. They think a little water and some food is sufficient for the money to come in. They should be heavily fined, and maybe consider locking them in a closet for their lifetime-see the equivalency. Think about it. And all the world should realize that humans are not the only ones with multiple needs, brains, and emotions.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:38 pm |
  174. Don

    The Whale did not asked to be taken from freedom when it was 2 years old. Shame on people that think he should be killed for being what he is, a Predator!

    February 26, 2010 at 12:38 pm |
  175. Maryanne

    Tilikum MAY – in his animal mind – have been playing with the trainer. He didn't have any way to know that she'd drown if he took her underwater. Did he eat her? Did he mutilate her? Did he destroy her body? How can anyone attribute intent to kill to this situation? She was playing with him and her ponytail may have just been a "toy" in the whale's eyes. Sad incident but I don't believe you can blame Tilikum for reacting to the excitement of the moment.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
  176. christina s

    It is unfortunate what has happened..maybe this should serve as a reminder this is a living WILD creature...not ur average dog that you play tricks with and run around with! I understand saving them and sometimes that means captivity but stop with "playing" with them. Just allow people to simply be in awe of them being natural not an "ocean dog". Stop with the tricks that is dangerous for the humans as well as potentially for these wales. Let the experts with their educated knowledge of captive animal being released...if its his death sentence to do that..then keep him and make him as comfortable for the remander of his life..not being their little clown doing tricks. When are we humans with our intelligence going to learn to stop imposing ourselves on the animal world and trying to turn them into pets?! Save them them yes but stop with the "taming".

    February 26, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
  177. Sara Cooper

    Tilikum was an adult when captured off the coast of Iceland I believe, and marine/whale bioligists tell us that in the wild, male oca stay with their mother's pod for life.

    So, in essence, we have kidnapped an intelligent creature. We have given him living quarters where he's too big to move about with ease, based on the description of the pools I understand are in use with Tilikum. This means that the smaller orca can tease him with impunity.

    And we have done this to an animal(s) that swims 100 miles for a favorite meal. How does his life compare to that of a prisoner in one of our world famous prisons?

    And this is the third incident he has been involved in-. Maye it's time Tilikum went home to Iceland?

    I suggest that CNN film a behind the scenes tour,

    February 26, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
  178. Carolyn R.

    These poor animals are captured out of their native habitat, removed from their family groups and then forced to live in an alien environment, and perform tricks for their owners. You can't blame the animal for acting like the animal it was born to be.
    We are to blame for using these animals in ways nature never intended. I also think that this type of industry, forcing animals to do tricks, should be outlawed, as it is inhumane to the animals involved, and potentially dangerous to people.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
  179. Deborah Ahonen

    Orcas are highly intelligent; scientists believe they are only slightly less intelligent than humans. Imagine if you were imprisoned for 25 years in an extremely tiny space and were forced to perform inane tricks in front of aliens in order to eat. Would you be angry and frustrated? You bet!
    Tilikum can be slowly rehabbed and taught to fend for himself in the wild. He can then be re-introduced to the wild along with several captive rehabbed female orcas, so that he can form his own pod. Otherwise it is only a matter of time before these sorts of attacks happen again. Rehabbed release is the only humane and safe answer.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
  180. McKenna Burns

    Given the history of attacks and deaths relating to orcas in captivity, Sea World parks definitely need to stop using these animals for entertainment performances with human trainers. In the wild, orcas are hunters and one of the top predators in the ocean, hence the name, orca KILLER whale. These animals do not belong in captivity, and when you take an animal from its habitat and place it in an unfamiliar and unnatural environment, you're asking for trouble. They are docile in ways, yes, but orcas are wild animals and people need to realize the consequences that can result in taking the huge risks..and only to make an extra buck at the park? This type of entertainment should be banned, go whale watching instead.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
  181. someone w/ a biology degree

    Release of this whale will end in failure and further heartbreak. Two problems come to mind- Social handicaps and survival. I believe these are social species -often living in large pods related to one another, traveling, and hunting together.
    This whale will be unable to adopt a pod to live with (it has been tried before recall the release of Free Willy).
    The whale will likely starve because it has never relied on itself for self-feeding.
    This whale serves the purpose of reminding wildlife trainers and biologist and the general public of the fury of mother nature.
    Throw away your Bambi films and get real people.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
  182. C. Darra

    Please release this Whale. He has served his time as an entertainer purely for profit. (over 25 years in a small tank) These creatures are meant to be in the wild and then we contain them and expect them to behave in a way that is totally UNNATURAL. PLEASE SEAWORLD DO WHAT IS RIGHT!!!
    While the loss of life is a tragedy we expect the most human behaviors from a 12,000 lb. animal that should be living it's existence in the wild.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
  183. Figsnana

    Release Tilikum back to the wilds for whatever time is left.
    Although it has bee in captivity for a while, I believe the Law of Nature will take over and the whale will survive.

    To put the Tilikum to death for what could have been a moment of playfulness, or even the whale may have had a moment of trying to convey distress to it's trainer or whatever is such a permanent end to an animal that has devoted much of it's life to bring joy an laughter to the multitudes that visited Seaworld

    February 26, 2010 at 12:40 pm |
  184. j

    these beautiful creatures should swim in the ocean not in these jail cells.......they are very intelligent....he was frustrated swimming in circles...could someone please point out the footage of tillis fin bent.....sea world and jack hannas argument is that they want to educate themselves........well ask them that...why is the fin bent in captivity and erect in the ocean

    February 26, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
  185. liz

    I think Seaworld needs to build a a more humane environment for Tilikum or release him to a safe environment that accomodates him. Seaword has made millions off of Tilikum, they need to step up and build a more humane environment for him. He is acting out with aggression because of the unnatural habitat he has been subjected to for so many years. This whale should have never been kept in captivity, however if Seaworld is to keep him (which they will), they need to acccomodate him with a more humane environment.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:42 pm |
  186. Allan G. Paloranta

    Yesterdays summit achieved little except a national posturing for the upcoming elections. By usurping State’s autonomy, as the Federal Gov’t did in usury, will end in a disaster, not unlike the credit industry. Such reduction of States governing powers undermines the founding fathers concepts as drafted in the Constitution. Regulate the coverage, non-discriminatory onsite costing, pooling logistics, and premium stabilization should theoretically follow in a true free-enterprise (non monopolistic) economy. I think Wellness care should be first on the agenda.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:42 pm |
  187. Dora

    I love animals and yeah it might look cute to see wild animals do tricks but the reality is that it is wrong. Taking these large animals and putting them in captivity for our entertainment is just wrong. You wanna see these animals go to the coast of British Columbia, I have heard it is amazing to see these large creatures in the wild where they belong. Nothing should happen to the whale because he probably wouldn't last in the wild. As far as for a stupid lawsuit like someone stated that is the typical American attitude sue everyone for everything. The trainer was with the whale by choice and they understand the risks, no one threw her in there with these large animals. You play with fire eventually you will get burned and it is unfortunate that the lady died so young and my condolences to her family.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:43 pm |
  188. Sidney Stepney

    My comment is, where are the animal rights activists, concerning the killer whale issue. All we are hearing is how profitable this stud whale is to Seaworld, and not how valuable and priceless was the human life the whale took from her family and our society.In the Michael Vick case, we see how quickly these organizations responded to vehemently represent the helpless dogs against the vicious humans. What now? This animal, the killer whale as he has been so often referred ,even has a killer past! What has our world come to. Screw the human and save the animal? How sad. We will anticipate the response of these so-called animal rights groups to do the right thing and call for the permanent elimination of this "killer" whale as he has been so many times referred.How ironic the reference.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:43 pm |
  189. Richard troia

    Free Willie Money is always involved. Disney would win big if they free him showing the world they care about life first then convert the park to a changing water park. Recycle the animals/fish richard Deerfield fl

    February 26, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
  190. Moses P. Saldana, Sr.

    Tony: Two things that I would suggest pertaining to the killer whale.

    1. Is send it back to it's natural surroundings, a loss of a human life is pricelss; amount of monies that this mammal is supposedly worth is not comparable!
    2. Restructure the confines of this/these whales, and performing methods.

    Thanks for the great news coverage sthat CNN produces, 24/7

    February 26, 2010 at 12:46 pm |
  191. DJsista

    Hi Tony,
    First let me say Im so sorry that Dawn's life was cut short, my condolences to her family. This is a tragic ACCIDENT.
    I dont kn what really happened, I cant believe that "Tili" meant to cause harm to Dawn when they worked together for so long. Is it possible he thought she was playing?
    I am full agreement with Seaworld not to put Tili down, or put her out in the wild. Tili may also be grieving for her as well.
    This is truly a sad day for Disney and the world.

    Palm Coast, Florida

    February 26, 2010 at 12:46 pm |
  192. Justin

    Can you honestly blame him. It's tragic what happened to the trainer but this poor WILD animal has been trapped to a cage when he is used the the ocean. He has already lashed out two other times, when does making money supersede the safety of others, ie. the trainer. This is just disturbing that Sea World would keep this animal after two deaths. I don't blame this whale, I blame Sea World, it's almost ignorant to think this wouldn't happen again. Set the whale free, it's better for him, and better for the safety of the trainers.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
  193. Truman Bailey

    The whale should be released back in to its natural habitat. Why penalize the whale? It did not choose to be captive. This is obvious wild creatures should not be in a captive invironment.

    This Whale is a meal ticket for Sea World there not about to set it free Its time for a very good attorney to step in and have a class action law suit in reverse with all of the people that want to see Tellikum set free.

    Establish a time limit for which a whale can be kept in captivity and then set free.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:48 pm |
  194. George Marler

    What is most suprising is that people are shocked by this incident,with my sympathy to the family of the trainer- who no doubt had a love of these animals. Put a two ton, highly inteligent,top of the oceans food chain-whale into a large swimming pool,for our enjoyment ,and be surprised when it snaps...?

    February 26, 2010 at 12:51 pm |
  195. Alex

    Tony, i enjoy the way you present yr news, iam not gay, i jst like th wy u do news. two things :the whale must be returned to the oceans to celebrate life. as human beings w need to allow animals to be who they are in situations like this. i hv two akita dogs, i wear arm protections when i play w them outside. that whale didnt mean t kill, it was playing like it should in th wild

    February 26, 2010 at 12:52 pm |
  196. Pamela

    I disagree about returning him to the ocean. He would never make it out there after being taken care of for 25 years. But killing him is not the answer either. In my opinion he was not trying to kill her, but playing. That is what killer whales do to seals in the ocean. You cant take an animal out of his habitat and punnish him for being what he was born to be!!!! Let him live his life out in a large tank, like they have in Atlanta. Enough room to swim, and still be a wonder for people to admire, and love!

    February 26, 2010 at 12:53 pm |
  197. Journi

    The ONLY way to stop this animal-captivity practice is to STOP supporting these companies who "rape" animals from living the life that they were suppose to live....IN their natural habitat!

    Sea World (and other captive animal companies) has NO RIGHTS to keep animals captive in order to line their pockets with money! AND, the trainers, who say they "love" these animals are only lining their pockets, too! Who's fooling who?

    And, to allow Tilikum to keep performing because he's worth 2 million dollars really speaks loudly about Sea World! Sea World is ONLY concerned about making money....period! We don't need captive animals to teach humans about them! If you want to learn about animals, just turn on Animal Planet or the Discovery Channel, or better yet...get off the couch and go take a nature walk!

    February 26, 2010 at 12:54 pm |
  198. Truman Bailey

    The whale should be released back in to its natural habitat. Why penalize the whale? It did not choose to be captive. This is obvious wild creatures should not be in a captive invironment.

    This Whale is a meal ticket for Sea World there not about to set it free Its time for a very good attorney to step in and have a class action law suit in reverse with all of the people that want to see Tilikum set free and establish a time limit for which a whale can be kept in captivity and then set free.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
  199. Jupp Kerckerinck

    February 26th, 2010 11:12 am ET

    These animals are meant to swim freely in the ocean and not in a tank. therefore they are under an enormous stress which can lead to atypical behavior or death.
    They are often subjected to hunger in order to perform those tricks. No tricks, no food. The argument that many of them have been born in captivity and therefore would not mind living in a “bathtub”, has been used for the children of slaves as well, but, of course, that is utter nonsense. This animal, just like all dolphins and orcas in captivity, should be set free and those tanks should be closed for good.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
  200. C. Darra

    In answer to those who say Tilikum could never survive in the wild after being kept in captivity for so long they're most likely correct.
    HOWEVER!! This whale could go to a wild life sanctuary that has experience with Killer whales. These sanctuary's are considerably larger than any Seaworld tank and more closely mimic the world from which this whale came.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
  201. Shawn

    Tony, I think there are many things to look at when considering the fate of Tilikum. First, if Tilikum was angry and wanted to intentionally end someones life, he could do it much more efficiently than grabbing onto a ponytail and swimming underwater. Obviously, Orcas, are playful animals. Sometimes, as with dogs they may play too hard. While both situations will probably end with some tooth indentations, one could end in a drowning. Another factor I would be interested in learning more about is the typical amount of mating Orcas partake in and comparing that with how often Tilikum is permited.

    If they decide to release him he will more than likely be fine, being as he was taken from the wild in Iceland. If they decide to keep him, he will be fine too. Either way, whatever is decided needs to be done for the benefit of the animal. Responsibility, needs to be the number one priority in either situation.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:59 pm |
  202. someone w/ a biology degree

    The whale is in basically in jail. Sometimes violence happens in jail. Just how it goes...

    February 26, 2010 at 12:59 pm |
  203. Nick

    Simple, Let it loose in the waters of the Nigerian pirates. Jet ski's and wood skippers will become part of it's main diet. As well as pirates

    February 26, 2010 at 1:01 pm |
  204. Michele

    Sadly, as long as we keep wild animals in unnatural captive conditions, they will eventually exhibit their natural behaviors or “snap” from extended psychological stress. Tilikum and all other captive marine mammals should be rehabilitated and released whenever possible, and transferred to rescue groups if they are not releasable.

    It should be illegal for Sea World and other marine parks to continue to breed cetaceans and hold them in a lifetime of captivity. Just because these unfortunate animals are bred into captivity doesn’t make the situation right. This is no life for them, and it is in no way “conservation.” These animals are pale, neurotic shadows of what a wild whale is. The goal of true conservation is to preserve a species in its natural habitat. Marine parks are only preserving their bottom line.

    The ridiculous marine park shows only teach children that forcing your will on another creature is ok. It teaches them absolutely nothing about the amazing natural behavior of the whales in their natural habitat.

    I urge all marine parks to a embrace a new philosophy where they focus solely on rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing injured wildlife. This is a lesson worth teaching our children.

    Marine Parks outside of the US are still purchasing wild-caught marine mammals – watch the excellent documentary called “The Cove” to see undercover footage of how these captures happen.

    February 26, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
  205. Pastor Brooks

    I think it is cruel punishment for the all mighty dollar. any Animal specialist will tell you that as it appeared on the screen the Whales main fin in the center on top was curled over. that usually means the animal is under stress, anxiety, complacency(probably misspelled). And if you have ever seen a pod of Killer whales in the wild their main fin is straight and erect which usually means they are in their element and that is what needs to be done with Tilkin as well as the other Killer whales

    February 26, 2010 at 1:04 pm |
  206. absonite

    The whales look like they have a smile but they do not love humans , they want to be free. I think he wanted to eat; she wasn't feeding him fast enough. Let him go, he's telling you he wants to be free. Dogs do not love you either, they want to eat, watch him around the dinner table he want real meat not that bagged dog food. When at the dinner table he will start talking.

    February 26, 2010 at 1:06 pm |
  207. Bill

    I would be willy to venture the lawyers for Seaworld have the trainers sign a contract covering the case where the wild animal attacks. I think all trainers know there is a risk of attack.

    Could a sperm sample be frozen and how long could it be used?

    February 26, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
  208. Don

    They don't call them "friendly" whales they are KILLER whales. Instead of people paying to watch someone attacked and killed by these whales, they should get rid of them and fill the aquarium with a billon sea monkeys and then watch people have a great time trying to see those little buggers.

    February 26, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
  209. Journi

    Tilikum has rights! Anything living has rights! STOP forcing Tilikum to do what he doesn't want to do (perform for human dollars) – otherwise, look what happens! DO NOT KILL HIM, DO NOT force him to perform! Take CARE of Tilikum and allow him to live in peace! All he wants is to live his life just like we ALL want to do....A life of FREEDOM!

    February 26, 2010 at 1:10 pm |
  210. tommy

    Regardless of whether Tilikum will survive or will we know unless he's given the chance? Sea World has made it's billions...tag him, take him down off the coast of South America ( a known, massive oceanic preserve) and set him free. I'm not a marine biologist, but I seriously doubt he'll hunt down and kill another human being...he'll be too happy hunting down and killing what he was intended to kill. Oh, yeah and make sure and check in with him in 3 months to see his dorsal fin upright and proud again!

    February 26, 2010 at 1:18 pm |
  211. Jay

    Killer Whales are remorseful has he shown signs of remorse?

    February 26, 2010 at 1:18 pm |
  212. Marsha Higginbotham

    This is a travesty! SeaWorld has no business keeping this animal in captivity. These whales live in groups in the wild, know and love their families, and migrate constantly. Everything about keeping them in captivity, separated from their mates, goes against nature. It does NOT teach about nature. Wild life photographers do that, without doing them harm. All whales, need to be removed from confinement immediately and permanently. Ones that cannot be freed should be put in sanctuaries, in groups, where they can live as normal as possible. Why was the chimp that attacked the nice lady put down? Why are dogs that attack people put down? They were owned by individual citizens, rather than corporations, that’s why. SeaWorld is allowed to make the decision about this whale because SeaWorld has tons of money and power. I hope everyone will boycott any and all SeaWorld attractions until these whales are freed.

    February 26, 2010 at 1:19 pm |
  213. Bill

    The only thing that would give me security with the proximity of wild animals would be a protection device. Isnt there a stun gun for trainers?

    February 26, 2010 at 1:23 pm |
  214. Matthew

    I wonder if the fact that these marine animals never eat any live food had anything to do with this horrible death?

    February 26, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
  215. Dorota Lukomska

    The caged, mistreated, forced to live unnaturally, should no longer be exploited for someone to make tons of money. There are appropriate sanctuaries all over the world since they can no longer live in the wild. Now a woman lost her life... How much longer will we stand by and allow this to happen? We need to change our mindset from cruelty to compassion, for all earth inhabitants, if we hope to progress spiritually.

    February 26, 2010 at 1:29 pm |
  216. John Fritz

    I don't know what the people at sea world are thinking. If any other animal had killed these three people, that animal would have been euthanize. I also understand one of these killer whales off spring, has also been involved with one death over in France. This is irresponsible and criminal to allow this animal to survive after these killings. When we put human life behind money, that’s when we truly have lost our humanity.

    February 26, 2010 at 1:44 pm |
  217. Bill

    Tony, i dont think this whale should be killed or returned back into the wild. These whales live in pods and as i understand it, they grow up in a pod and they dont normally allow "outsider to join them". He could be used for stud,but i think he should be placed in the largest tank they have or transferred to a facility that has a large open water pen.
    on a personal note I had an experience with a orca and her calf myself. I was sailing my boat from Honolulu to Los Angeles 20 yrs ago and woke up just after dawn, went to stern of the boat to pee and was in process when I noticed movement close under the stern and saw a large orca and her calf swimming within 2-3' from the rudder. I watched them for about 5 min till they swam away. The mothers dorsal fin was about 1-2' under the surface of the water–beautiful and wonderful sight and experience. Another personal note a week later I had a whale approach us while I was becalmed it swam very slowly toward us with its head out of the water then swam just underneath us and slowly swam out of sight. It was about 40' long quite a sight.

    February 26, 2010 at 2:02 pm |
  218. Rusty Minter

    Its a no brainer. Kill any animal(without pain to them) that hurts a human. Anyway the whale eats fish and takes their lives every day. If they had killed it after is 1st victim, two more humans wouldn't of had to suffer a terrible death.

    February 26, 2010 at 3:15 pm |
  219. Marcus Smith

    It's time these aquatic zoo circus's are no longer supported and boycotted by the public . This is the 2010 and the flawed reasoning of them being for educational purposes is clearly not accepted by those whom have true understanding and love of these creatures.
    If Dawn Brancheau really loved these animals. The love was blind and her self obsession and greed that is a product of this industry cost her life.
    All these people working in this industry are accomplices to animal cruelty. Walk away now. That is if you really respect the animals and reasoning to Dawn's death.

    February 26, 2010 at 3:32 pm |
  220. m

    You’d think at some point they get the clue that a whale will not conform to the current human entertainment ideology. Who cares about mother nature’s original intend when there is another dollar that still can be made? They haven’t learned from the mess with Keiko back then. They continue to keep a herd animal isolated so they can excuse incidents with the usual BS ‘policy, mission and vision’ talk.

    If someone wants to see “real” Orcas, go to the Oregon coast in fall or spring when they migrate up and down the west coast. You will see 30 to 40 of them together putting on a show that SeaWorld with its “clowns” in whale skin will never be able to accomplish. Best of all it is real and won’t cost a cent.

    FREE Tilikum and all the others

    February 26, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  221. Louise

    Put him back in the area from which he was taken. Whatever happens next is no longer any of our ( humans) business. The rest of the orcas as well. They will adapt or they will not, but they will no longer be captive.

    February 26, 2010 at 4:27 pm |
  222. nicole

    FREE TILIKUM!!!! He obviously doesn't want to be in captivity what wild animal does??? Look at his fin, it's basically folded in half! Seaworld and all places that hold these animals captive are selfish! They're not doing it for the love of the animals they're doing it for the profit, and look at what happened!!!! It's sad that someone had to die but it shouldn't be that big of a shocker! They're not goldfish for heavens sake!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Living in a tank is not being free; all these people are doing to this animals is taking away their freedom and will of life. It's sad and hurtful to know someone could do that to such a beautiful creature.

    February 26, 2010 at 4:45 pm |
  223. tatum

    I agree completely with Colleen/

    They should have thought about the consequences of putting an animal that obviously doesn't belong in captivity-in a pool that barely fits them. Zoos are cruel. They should have considered the possibility of that poor animal doing something like this. The only ones to blame for any of these incidents is Sea World, and any other zoos that choose to put animals in slavery.

    February 26, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
  224. jack ekruger

    yes its a shame what happened to the lady that got killed by killer whale but that killer whale could never survive out in the ocean what are people thinking that whale is used too being in the tank area i feel sorry for that these sea world shows should be put too a stop just another money maker for theses parks not fair too these animals that are stuck in a tank cage like a zoo just like the guy who snuck inn too a tank at sea world and died what did you think would happen tha whale did not know him duh look what happened too free willy he died too thats a sad thing too happen how long is this going too go on before sea world stops having these shows you cant blame the killer whales its not there fault get with the program seaworld

    February 26, 2010 at 7:24 pm |
  225. Amanda Carter

    This animal should be released back into the wild. Actually, all of the killer whales, and any other animals either stolen from the wild or bred in captivity, should be released. SeaWorld runs a cruel business. It is cruel to force these animals to perform tricks in front of an audience for food. How would any human react to this slavery? If any of us were locked up in such a small "jail" for 30 years we would likely go crazy too. This poor whale should be set free and be allowed the opportunity to be a whale – to swim in the open waters for miles and miles!

    February 26, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  226. A. Smith, Oregon

    The US Senate should craft a bill that would make it illegal to keep any Orcha Whale in captivity over 1/2 of its expected lifespan before releasing that Orcha Whale back into the Ocean.

    I can think of no greater memorial to the brave and dedicated Sea World trainer Dawn Brancheau who tragically lost her life showing the world how beautiful and graceful these huge sentient creatures are.

    Oregonians rescued Willie-Kiko a female Orcha Whale from a Mexican resort tank and after medical rehab successfully released Willie-Kiko back to the Ocean where she lived free for her last 10 years and died as a free Orcha Whale with her pod mates.

    February 27, 2010 at 12:27 am |
  227. Tommy Mac Caskie

    How inhumane are we as people, who take an animal from out of its environment and place them in a small confined containment, such as a killer whale. To think, we do all this, just for some amusement.

    This beautiful creature, with its vast intelligence, which we have taken for granted, is feed dead fish and has to work every day. It doesn't get any vacation time or weekends off. Not to mention any sick leave. It just keeps going around and around in circles, just to enterain us.

    Now here's the part that gets me, which is, man-kind who doesn't get it or understand that out of these abnormal condition , an animal can and will snap, and based on their size will kill someone.

    So, what do we do? Do you kill the whale? Or set it free, back to the open seas. Well, if you can train a whale to splash water on people at an amusement park, then you can certainly train one to fend for one's self in the ocean... Or is that being to humane. PS : My condolence goes to her family.

    February 27, 2010 at 1:57 am |
  228. Eleanor Sackler

    I know from Marine Biologists that I have consulted with here in Florida, including two whale specialists at a Marine Laboratory, that it would be possible, with the technology and phasing involved, to free Tillikum. That is what should be done.

    February 27, 2010 at 12:00 pm |
  229. stephanie w

    set the poor animal go! should of been let go the first time he killed a trainer LIKE HE WAS SUPPOSE TO BE!!! he would be fine in his own element its called insinct and how old is this whale? 30? let him live the rest of his life happy where he belongs not unhappy in a pool!

    February 27, 2010 at 5:51 pm |
  230. Angie

    Anyone ever see the movie Free Willie?The whale used in that movie was Keiko and was re- released.He was held in captivity for many years after the movie, before taking off on his own from the Iceland coast in 2002.But Keiko never bonded with other orca pods, his handlers thought might adopt the whale.
    He swam to Norway, sought out humans again and died of pneumonia while in their care in 2003.
    This should not become the fate of Tilikum! It was humans who made him swim in this small pool and perform for his food. It was clearly an accident. I would hesitate to keep him at Sea World as I feel his tank is TOO SMALL and audiences should not be witness to another incident. I would like to see Tilikum go to a whale sancuary where he can live in dignity after his unatural captavated life and all of his hard work be rewarded by a safe environment for all.

    February 27, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
  231. A J

    Hi, I have a hard time watching your show. On the lower 1/2 of the screen you have all of your ads and promos, which cover up all of the pictures.... All we see is the sky and top part of the photos.

    I may have to stop watching you and go to FOX.

    February 27, 2010 at 10:06 pm |
  232. Summer

    do not free Tilikum cause if you free her then the only thing that is going to happen is she is going to die because she has been in captivity too long to know how to survive on her own in the wild

    February 27, 2010 at 10:36 pm |
  233. Edita

    Tiliqum along with the rest of the imprisoned marine life should be set free. I've heard the whales wouldn't know how to survive after all the years in captivity, however, I'm sure Tiliqum would be more happy to live just another few months in the ocean and die free, than to live another 10 years at Seaworld.
    Seaworld uses education as an excuse, it's all done for profit. It's disgusting. Parents, as well as schools, could find numerous ways to educate children without sending them to seaworld. After all, not everyone lives in Florida. Let's stop Seaworld, and let's free these beautiful creatures.
    The only way people could prove a point is if they stopped visiting seaworld. So, it's up to the society to make a difference.

    February 28, 2010 at 1:58 am |
  234. Alice

    My deepest heartfelt prayers goes out to Dawn's family and friends. It was a horrible accident.
    The pictures the news is showing of Tilly are pitiful. He's so isolated and sad. Its pathetic. He needs to be back in the sea. He cant even move in that small tank they have him in. Put the owner of sea world in a tank by himself, where he cannot move or turn around. Lets see how he feels then. Put that poor animal back in the sea with his family.Its heartbreaking to see him being treated like that when in all probablity he was playing. Might I mention he is in fact a wild mammal.He belongs to the wild. Let Tilly GO !!!

    February 28, 2010 at 2:28 pm |
  235. teri

    He has been imprisoned for 25 years, for God's sake free the beast and let him be the master of his own destiny. If I had to guess I would say Tilikum would rather die free than be held captive til the end of his days!

    February 28, 2010 at 2:41 pm |
  236. Alice

    OK so wait ...they take the poor animal OUT of the wild to domesticate it, then, people are saying, if you put him BACK in the wild he will die for lack of food and adoption of other black and white dolphins? 25 years IS a long time to be in captivity. however, he is a wild animal. his instinct is to survive...(doesn't that go for us too)? ...he will have to eat to survive...he knows how to eat, what to eat, and by him being a huge 12,000 lb. MALE, it is highly likely that the pods, especially the females, would accept him...its natural selection. . the females want a strong mate to perpetuate the species.

    February 28, 2010 at 2:41 pm |
  237. Terri

    These animals belong to the sea NOT to corporations! This is cruelty beyond comprehension and is simply "wrong". Where is the compassion and honor for these beautiful creatures? .. they are meant to be wild and free! Let's all speak for them .. for their SOUL AND SPIRIT!

    March 2, 2010 at 12:02 am |
  238. Danielle

    I hope SeaWorld can learn from this tragedy and become a leader in advocating non-intrusive observation of marine life in their natural environment. These beautiful animals do not belong in captivity and are not here for our entertainment. Seeing a whale/dolphin out in the ocean is such an amazing experience and I think it is so much more meaningful than seeing them perform in an artificial, controlled setting.

    Also, people need to come up with a better defense instead of "it's called a killer whale for a reason." Orcas get that name because they are knows to cannibalize other species of whales, not because they are cold-blooded killers.

    March 2, 2010 at 4:45 pm |
  239. John , Gander,NL

    The fact that more "trainers" ( slave masters ) aren't hurt is a testament to the peaceful temperament of these large, intelligent wild animals. They are, after all, WILD animals who should be living in the ocean and eating other animals, that is their instinct. For a large animal that's supposed to live in the huge ocean to be confined to a cement tank is unnatural and cruel and should be unacceptable to any decent person.

    March 3, 2010 at 1:15 pm |