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What will be the effect of Tilikum's return to SeaWorld Orlando?

By Robert Niles
Published: March 30, 2011 at 12:27 PM
As of this morning, Tilikum is back "on stage" at SeaWorld Orlando. The park's largest orca was the one that killed trainer Dawn Brancheau in February 2010, and has been kept out of the public eye since then.

Tilikum Shamu
Tilikum, in 2009

Tikikum has returned to the show tank at SeaWorld Orlando, but the trainers still have not. They're supposed to be working their way back into the water, under controlled conditions "back stage," but there's no word on when they might reappear in the water with the whales during the show. In fact, the current Shamu show, "Believe," is on its way out, anyway, to be replaced with the new "One Ocean" choreography next month.

I'll ask you to respond in the comments whether you think Tilikum's public return is a good or bad idea. But I'd also like to take a vote on whether the return of the park's biggest killer whale will have any influence upon your decision to visit SeaWorld.

Readers' Opinions

From Daniel Etcheberry on March 30, 2011 at 1:38 PM
The trainers will be out of the water, so nothing should happen.

From Hermione Potter on March 30, 2011 at 2:39 PM
I saw this yesterday and I was so excited. The only reason I go to the whale show (after seeing it 100+ times in 2 years) is to get splashed. None of the other whales can do as good of a job as Tilly. I'll be there on Friday (barring a tornando warning) to get soaked again!
From 72.50.102.168 on March 30, 2011 at 10:56 PM
So I've read a few of the improvements... (Like the non-touching massages, and the elevator flooring) I guess things are better, but this news didn't surprised me one bit. Seaworld first didn't do anything (to) or a out Tilikum, never did they said it wouldn't be back or (to my knowledge) that trainers won't perform in the water "ever" again. So it wouldn't surprised me either if one day trainers are back performing too.

I understand why some "THEME PARK" fans are glad Tilikum is back. Myself Tilikum, or no Tilikum, I would still go to Seaworld. I think the argument about a better show though is kind of short sided. I just feel like there's something wrong about this and a better show shouldn't be the ultimate judgment decider. Seaworld is just protecting his business here and (and this is just my personal opinion) I don't think is all about the Show but keeping their calve machine going strong too. Half a dozen calves must be pretty lucrative... I just think 3 dead's are p-l-e-n-t-y!

Like I said I would still go, since I don't really go to see Tilikum. And about nothing happening let's not forget Brancheau wasn't really (sort of, kind of) in the water and was rather pulled in. But hey don't need to be sad "The Show" will go on...

From 72.50.102.168 on March 30, 2011 at 11:00 PM
I forgot to put my name in "The Show" will go on... Comment
So if you want to hate on my opinion, it was:
-Francisco
From TH Creative on March 31, 2011 at 7:24 AM
Won't impact whether or not I visit. Nonetheless i still do not like the trainers in the water.
From Brandon Mendoza on March 31, 2011 at 8:57 AM
I'm sure the trainers have a say in whether or not they're back in the water with the Orcas, but Tilikum? I don't think he should be part of shows considering he has killed 3 people. I just hope Tommy Lee and PETA don't make a stink about this. PETA kills more animals than saves them every year. And Tommy Lee is just using his pseudo celebrity status to speak his ignorance.

If I lived near Orlando, I'd still visit Sea World regardless if Tilikum was or wasn't there.

From Terri Pierce on March 31, 2011 at 1:27 PM
I am worried about his return to the shows and I don't think the trainers should be allowed in the water with him. Yes he is a great performer but until we can start reading whales minds I just dont think its a good idea. I don't know much about whales but I figure its the same with any animal- as soon as they taste blood they have the thirst for it. Dogs have been proven to be this way and Im sure whales are no different.

I dont think he should be banned from ever performing again, but I don't think he should be in the water with them. I do beg to ask though, if they did ever ban him completely from show biz what could they do with him? Put him in a viewing tank for the rest of his life? That seems like it would hurt his state of mind even more.

From Tom Tatsey on April 1, 2011 at 4:22 PM
I,m disaponted i would think 3 lives would be worth at least a retirement. Don,t worry PETA wont do much it was Humans killed.

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