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TiliLeaks: Tilikum’s Traumatic Final Weeks At Sealand

July 23, 2014

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I’ve got a new post up at The Dodo, examining the set of documents from activist Russ Rector’s FOIA haul that relate to SeaWorld’s application to move Tilikum from Sealand to SeaWorld in January 1992 on an emergency basis. The documents (and some additional commentary I solicited from Steve Huxter, who managed SeaWorld’s killer whales at the time) add many troubling details to what we know about Tilikum’s sad experience at Sealand–most notably that before he was shipped to SeaWorld he was confined to Sealand’s tiny module for 17 days, with a noticeable impact on his health and mental attitude.

From the post, here is how Steve Huxter described what he observed:

In all his years at Sealand, I had never seen [Tilikum] so immobile in the module; he was listless at the surface all of the time. He floated for hours on the surface at the gate and facing the pool that held Haida, her calf, and Nootka. He seldom moved around and primarily only when he was offered food. For the first few days he ate well but his appetite seemed to fade and  there were times when we would give him food and he would simply let it slide out of his mouth and let it sink to the bottom of the module pool.

Read the full Dodo post here. I’ve embedded the full set of documents below, or you can read them here. They are worth reviewing because they contain lots of additional information about SeaWorld, Sealand and Tilikum.

View this document on Scribd
2 Comments leave one →
  1. Rob permalink
    July 23, 2014 3:27 pm

    SeaWorld needs a new team of forward-thinking executives who recognize–and who can say out loud–that what was done to Tilikum was wrong.

  2. rachelli permalink
    July 23, 2014 3:40 pm

    for a whale like tillikum, what or where is the best place for him to live out his years as of now. really sounds horrible what is happening to the whale.

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