A killer whale bull given the name Tilikum by his human captors died in a Florida theme park on Friday after 33 years in captivity.
Taken from the ocean near Iceland when he was two years old after having been caught in a fishing net, Tilikum would spend the rest of his life in zoos or amusement parks, ending up at SeaWorld in Florida. There are many dozens of others like him still living in similar conditions.
According to SeaWorld of Hurt: “After his capture, he was kept in a cement holding tank for close to a year at Hafnarfjörður Marine Zoo, near Reykjavík, Iceland, as he awaited transfer to a marine park. Held captive against his will, all he could do was swim in small circles and float aimlessly at the surface of the water, far away from the expansive ocean in which he had swum a hundred miles a day alongside his family members.”
In the wild, killer whales can swim 100 miles a day. Tilikum was taken from that life and held prisoner in small tanks for three decades and forced to perform tricks for mindless humanoids in return for food. His dorsal (top) fin was permanently collapsed – a condition common among captive orcas due to unnatural conditions and stress.
But beasts this intelligent and large would not be enslaved without a fight. Over the years, Tilikum fought back against his tormentors and killed two of his trainers in the middle of live performances. He also killed one spectator on another occasion. Killer whales in the wild do not normally bother with people, but are far more likely to attack them when held in captivity.
At least in death he is free of the abuse and torment of his captors and conditions.
Freedom for all those still enslaved for the entertainment of humans !