Seaworld Criticised After It’s Revealed That The Killer Whale From ‘Blackfish’ Is Dying


Seaworld officials have revealed that Tilikum – the killer whale featured in Blackfish – has a bacterial infection in his lungs that is expected to kill him. 

Vets are trying to keep him comfortable, but the 34-year-old whale is “lethargic” and his particular infection is “extremely difficult to treat”.


Tilikum was famously one of three whales who, back in 1991, dragged one of their trainers to the bottom of the pool and drowned her. Then, in 1999, a man who was believed to have been trespassing was found drowned in Tilikum’s pool. His injuries suggested that he too had been dragged to the bottom.

In 2010, Tilikum killed another one of his trainers – Dawn Brancheau – this time shortly after they had performed a show. Although Seaworld employees threw nets and food at Tilikum, hoping to distract him, it wasn’t until he was directed to a smaller, medical pool that he calmed down and released Dawn’s body.


The 2013 documentary Blackfish examined Tilikum’s case, and shone a light on the cruelty of keeping large, wild animals in captivity.

A movement calling to have Tilikum freed was launched, and so the knowledge that he is now ill and dying has considerably angered people:

PETA released a statement, saying:

“The sickness at SeaWorld is with its management, which has deliberately caused Tilikum—the subject of Blackfish, the damning documentary about SeaWorld—to suffer immensely by confining him to a small concrete tank for decades, causing him to succumb to mental illness that has resulted in aggression and now to some incurable illness.”

You can watch a trailer for Blackfish here: