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The Full Tilileak Document Dump

August 26, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 2.48.03 PM

Earlier this summer, dolphin advocate Russ Rector managed to use FOIA to secure the release from the National Marine Fisheries Service of all documents in their files related to the purchase and import of Tilikum, Haida (and her calf), and Nootka from Sealand of the Pacific to SeaWorld.

I’ve previously posted some of the documents, and analyzed them over on The Dodo (here, here, and here).

Today, with Russ’ permission, I have uploaded the rest to Scribd, so the full set is available for anyone to read and analyze (interesting tidbit: the cost to SeaWorld for all the permit work was $200).

I am sure there is plenty of additional info in the documents that is worth noting, so please feel free to comment and share your thoughts on anything that catches your attention. Of note, there are full necropsies and related analysis of the deaths of two SeaWorld killer whales, Kahana and Kenau, as well as SeaWorld’s full Marine Mammal Inventory Report from 1991. (I have had the necropsies analyzed by Dr. Jon Zern, a veterinarian, and will post his analysis in a separate post tomorrow morning).

Since these documents are all finally available thanks to Russ and his persistence, I have asked him for his thoughts on their significance. Here’s what he has to say:

The documents I obtained from National Marine Fisheries  Service (NMFS) after many years of requests and searching are going to be made public here for the first time. These documents are a wealth of information concerning marine mammals in captivity. The one thing that stands out to me is how Sealand, Sea World and the Canadian government all seemed to work together to mislead the National Marine Fisheries Service concerning a medical emergency at Sealand and the orca Tillicum, that did not exist. Yes, the animals were in a very bad situation created by a bunch of dumb people more interested in money than how the animals were treated and cared for. But there was no true medical emergency.

Before Tillicum killed the female trainer (Keltie Byrne) at Sealand there was no medical emergency, and suddenly after he killed her there was this medical emergency that everybody in the captive industry suddenly became aware of. My question is: why did this medical emergency only surface after he killed her, not before?

That in itself is very suspicious and proves to me that this was all about getting Tillicum–a sorely needed breeder–to Sea World no matter what they had to do or say.  Veterinarians of captive facilities and those beholden to the dolphin captivity industry wrote letters saying if he wasn’t moved to Sea World immediately he was going to die. This was a set up. SeaWorld, Sealand and the Canadian government said exactly what they needed to say to mislead NMFS into issuing the permit for the emergency transport. This shows me the permitting process at NMFS is broken and archaic and does not truly protect marine mammals as the Marine Mammal Protection Act mandates. This shows me the Marine Mammal Protection Act at this point in time is the Marine Mammal Facility Protection Act. In the coming days I will be asking NMFS and The Marine Mammal Commission to ask Congress for a full program review of the permitting process for the import and export of marine mammals to and from the United States.

These documents were kept secret for too long. That’s a problem. When we get so far downstream from any incident it becomes old news and seems to be ignored. That seems to be why the captivity industry lobbies government agencies and other captive facilities to make sure this sort of information doesn’t come to light at the appropriate time. These documents have spent 22 years waiting to be discovered by the public. It’s a lot of reading so go through them and see what you can find. Please contact me if you need any assistance please contact me at captivitykills@Comcast.net.

Russ Rector

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 26, 2014 9:24 pm

    Yes the Aquarium people got their holding module footage and hid it from the public. Here is how I got footage and exposed the abuses back then.

    Re: Blackfish Movie Shows Exclusive Lifeforce Footage of Tilikum
    In the early 90s the Vancouver based ecology organization, Lifeforce, investigated the inhume imprisonment of a male orca and two females at Sealand of the Pacific, Victoria, BC. A “holding module” was used to keep the three orcas contained overnight. Few have seen inside. This rare Lifeforce footage has been used in the Blackfish movie.

    Lifeforce Founder, Peter Hamilton, had stated that this cruel imprisonment resulted in physical and psychology abuses that made them dangerously aggressive. Lifeforce advised Sea World to not put anyone in the water with Tilikum.

    During the investigation of the death at Sea World Florida was contacted by OSHA (US Occupational Safety and Health Administration). Lifeforce provided letters etc. proving that Sea World was fully aware of the dangers.

    “It is great to see the Blackfish movie expose the cruelties resulting from keeping orcas in captivity, stated Peter Hamilton, Founder of Lifeforce, The Vancouver Aquarium started the orca slave trade in 1964 after their harpooned orcas survived and attracted crowds. In BC and WA, 68 were captured and at least 13 others died during captures. In spite of capture bans in North America, Sea Worlds, Marineland in Ontario, and others shamefully continue to capture orcas and other dolphins in other countries. The public can boycott aquariums to stop this slave trade.”

    Background: “Tilikum: A Time for Change”

    As with other orcas and dolphins imprisoned in aquarium tanks there is an extreme history of physical and psychological abuse. In this case, during evenings Tilikum and two females were lock up in a steel pen called the “holding module”. It measured only approximately 25′ x 30′ . And it was only 12′ deep.

    Nootka IV was sent to SeaWorld Florida. She died after 12 years of captivity. Haida and son Ky were sent to SeaWorld Texas. Haida died after 19 years of captivity. In the wild, females can live over 90 years.

    There have been many injuries at SeaWorlds and other aquariums – some very serious. Many are not made public and settled out out of court. In 2004 Tillikum’s son Ky attacked a trainer.

    Lifeforce called for an inquest into the Sea World Florida death. An inquest was conducted with the Sealand death. This was not done but the US government sued over safety issues and won. Lifeforce provided evidence to the government that proved that SeaWorld was fully aware of the first death. In 1991 Lifeforce advised them to stop putting trainers in the pools.

    Watch: Lifeforce’s Tillikum: A Time for Change http://lifeforcefoundation.org/ecotv_play.php?id=54

    -30-

    For further information: Peter Hamilton lifeforcesociety@hotmail.com
    http://www.lifeforcefoundation.org

  2. August 26, 2014 9:25 pm

    Yes the Aquarium people got their holding module footage and hid it from the public. Here is how I got footage and exposed the abuses back then.

    Re: Blackfish Movie Shows Exclusive Lifeforce Footage of Tilikum
    In the early 90s the Vancouver based ecology organization, Lifeforce, investigated the inhume imprisonment of a male orca and two females at Sealand of the Pacific, Victoria, BC. A “holding module” was used to keep the three orcas contained overnight. Few have seen inside. This rare Lifeforce footage has been used in the Blackfish movie.

    Lifeforce Founder, Peter Hamilton, had stated that this cruel imprisonment resulted in physical and psychology abuses that made them dangerously aggressive. Lifeforce advised Sea World to not put anyone in the water with Tilikum.

    During the investigation of the death at Sea World Florida was contacted by OSHA (US Occupational Safety and Health Administration). Lifeforce provided letters etc. proving that Sea World was fully aware of the dangers.

    “It is great to see the Blackfish movie expose the cruelties resulting from keeping orcas in captivity, stated Peter Hamilton, Founder of Lifeforce, The Vancouver Aquarium started the orca slave trade in 1964 after their harpooned orcas survived and attracted crowds. In BC and WA, 68 were captured and at least 13 others died during captures. In spite of capture bans in North America, Sea Worlds, Marineland in Ontario, and others shamefully continue to capture orcas and other dolphins in other countries. The public can boycott aquariums to stop this slave trade.”

    Background: “Tilikum: A Time for Change”

    As with other orcas and dolphins imprisoned in aquarium tanks there is an extreme history of physical and psychological abuse. In this case, during evenings Tilikum and two females were lock up in a steel pen called the “holding module”. It measured only approximately 25′ x 30′ . And it was only 12′ deep.

    Nootka IV was sent to SeaWorld Florida. She died after 12 years of captivity. Haida and son Ky were sent to SeaWorld Texas. Haida died after 19 years of captivity. In the wild, females can live over 90 years.

    There have been many injuries at SeaWorlds and other aquariums – some very serious. Many are not made public and settled out out of court. In 2004 Tillikum’s son Ky attacked a trainer.

    Lifeforce called for an inquest into the Sea World Florida death. An inquest was conducted with the Sealand death. This was not done but the US government sued over safety issues and won. Lifeforce provided evidence to the government that proved that SeaWorld was fully aware of the first death. In 1991 Lifeforce advised them to stop putting trainers in the pools.

    Watch: Lifeforce’s Tillikum: A Time for Change http://lifeforcefoundation.org/ecotv_play.php?id=54

    -30-

    For further information: Peter Hamilton lifeforcesociety@hotmail.com

    http://www.lifeforcefoundation.org

  3. Kelly Oliver permalink
    August 27, 2014 9:41 am

    These cetaceans do not belong in concrete pools with bars. It doesn’t take a scientist to see that. This is all about filling the pockets of individuals. Greed! This is not educational, this is PROFIT…. Its time to rerealease and or build a Sea Sanctuary for them to live out their lives in somewhat of a natural habitat. They are suffering. Don’t you get it. Dawn would still be here if you never were involved in capturing & imprisoning him. They want out. Enough. is enough. One day is to long. 40…30 years absolutely insane. The business of $eaworld will eventually die. We will NEVER STOP until our demands are reached. So Thank you for your time. #emptythetanks #captivitykills #TILIKUM and each and EVERYONE of them released. Each Dolphin too…..sincerely Kelly Oliver

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