May Tilikum Rest in Peace
Please read this notice from the World Cetacean Alliance.
Tribute to Tilikum
A life well lived… Isn't that the finest epitaph anyone can wish for? In the case of Granny (J2), beloved matriarch of the endangered Southern Resident population, that is indeed the case. In the first week of January 2017, as we learned of Granny's passing, the loss of another high profile orca, Tilikum (Chinook tribal language for 'friend') also made headline news. But while Granny's 105-year-old lifespan was spent in the wild, Tilikum's fate has been of a much darker kind.
Brutally torn from his family off Iceland as a 2-year-old in 1983, after a year's confinement in a holding tank Tilikum was sold to the now defunct Sealand of the Pacific, Victoria, British Columbia. Bullying by two dominant female orcas in a concrete tank replaced swimming in his mother's slipstream in the open ocean; begging for a meal of dead fish after performing a trick (or being deprived of food if he did not co-operate) replaced hunting for live prey. Granny, too, was captured more than once, but she was not one of those orcas selected for dispatch to marine parks around the world.
Following trainer Keltie Byrne's death at Sealand of the Pacific in 1991,Tilikum, branded a dangerous commodity, was sold to SeaWorld, Orlando, where he would endure more bullying from other orcas. With his flopped over dorsal fin, the classic hallmark sign of orcas in captivity, and his broken, drilled teeth, Tilikum continued to perform for a voracious, thrill-seeking public, oblivious to the pain behind the pleading eyes of the ocean's top predator rendered helpless by enslavement.
With two more deaths to his name, namely Daniel Dukes in 1999 and trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010, Tilikum was sentenced to solitary confinement in the medical pool. Here, deprived of stimuli and compatible companionship, he lay motionless at the surface for hours. Yet he still represented a valuable investment to SeaWorld, worth more alive than dead. His future would be that of a sperm bank to perpetuate the ongoing reproduction of captive orcas.
After months of varying reports on Tilikum's health, he has succumbed to eternity. But despite his long-term suffering, Tilikum's life has not been in vain… His tragic plight, along with the death of Dawn Brancheau, spawned the haunting documentary film 'Blackfish' which revealed the stark truth about the cruelty of captivity. SeaWorld, the corporate entity which used and abused Tilikum, watched helplessly as a shocked public turned their backs on the Shamu show and profits fell, spiralling into a black and bottomless abyss. In 2016 they announced there would be no more captive orca breeding.
This, in addition to the banning by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) of trainers in the water performing degrading stunts riding on the backs of orcas and rocket-hopping from their rostrums, is Tilikum's legacy. If he sought revenge, he has had it. May he, as Granny did in her lifetime, now swim free.
WCA Individual Partner (USA)
Author of –
Puget Sound Whales for Sale: The Fight to End Orca Hunting
(The History Press)
(CSI is a Proud Founding Member of the World Cetacean Alliance)
New edition of "Whales Alive!" Newsletter
The Winter edition of CSI's "Whales Alive!" newsletter is now available here. The articles include:
- Whaling Wrap-Up for 2016 – IWC/66/Portoroz
- CSI Presents Rails to Whales
- CSI Expands Humpback Whale Adoption Program
- CSI Youth Group News
- Beyond Borders Protection for Humpback Whales – Progress Through Partnerships
- NMFS' Designation of Russian Beluga Whales as Depleted Makes Their Import into the U.S. Illegal
- North Atlantic Right Whales On the Brink
- CSI's Grant Program
- The Ross Sea
- Tilikum and SeaWorld Are Doing Poorly
- Ocean Noise
- Upcoming Events
Russian Beluga Whales Designated as Depleted
New Anti-Captivity Film "Voiceless"
Will you be a voice for the voiceless? Watch this new film "Voiceless" here:
This film is produced by Blue Freedom Inc., a student non-profit organization and is intended for educational purposes. Learn more at http://bluefreedom.org/ and check out their Resource Hub at http://www.bluefreedomresourcehub.org/
Celebrate for Whales with CSI!
The U.S. Navy must limit Low Frequency Active Sonar use to protect marine mammals and habitats!
For more on this legal victory that included CSI as a plaintiff, please see: https://www.nrdc.org/media/2016/160718.
For even more see: https://www.nrdc.org/experts/michael-jasny/major-victory-low-frequency-sonar.
And if you want much more, contact CSI's Bill Rossiter at email@example.com or 203-770-8615. Rossiter's been involved with the issue since 1996; this has been a long battle.
CONNY's 40th Birthday Celebration!
On June 25, 2016, CSI celebrated the fortieth anniversary of the building of CONNY, the life-size ferro-concrete model of a sperm whale built by CSI in 1976 on the grounds of the Children's Museum at 950 Trout Brook Drive in West Hartford, CT.
The celebration included programs by CSI as well as Don Sineti and Friends performing live, and the Connecticut River Ramblers performing live. It also included Robbins Barstow's video of the amazing story of the construction of CONNY, which required many hours of volunteer labor and donated materials. Some of the people who built CONNY were on hand, too.
The Movie SONIC SEA Shown In Hartford, CT
"Oceans are a sonic symphony. Sound is essential to the survival and prosperity of marine life. But man-made ocean noise is threatening this fragile world. Sonic Sea is about protecting life in our waters from the destructive effects of oceanic noise pollution."
The movie SONIC SEA was shown at Real Art Ways, 56 Arbor Street, Hartford, CT, on May 23 through May 26, 2016. CSI was there to make a presentation on each night. Thanks to everyone who organized this event, and everyone who attended the movie!
See the movie's web site at www.sonicsea.org.
Proposal To End Dolphin Captivity In New South Wales, Australia
The former NSW Premier Bob Carr and current politicians have announced a proposed new bill to end dolphin captivity in NSW Australia. This legislation would effectively phase out dolphin captivity in NSW, placing an immediate ban on captive dolphin breeding. Dolphin Marine Magic is one of only two dolphinariums in Australia and it is in the state of New South Wales. There is a current plan to turn DMM into a marine hospital rather than the outdated circus that it is right now.
For more information see:
CSI's Anti-Captivity Flyer
CSI's 1997 anti-captivity flyer is still relevant today, even with outdated statistics. Its message is even more powerful than today's headlines in major media, as reflected by Wall Street, SeaWorld's increasing panic, and the public's realization that their tickets support the exploitation of the captives. Read it here: