Thursday, February 25, 2010

Condolences to all at Sea World

As at the time of writing there are 2,744 news items on Google relating to the tragic death of Dawn Brancheau at Sea World Orlando. I have even heard people chatting about it in the street. Everybody has something to say. I haven't.... other than to offer my sincere condolences to Dawn's family and friends and all at Sea World.

The choice of news links to include was immense but I have chosen just three.

Zoo Educator Weighs in on Seaworld Trainer's DeathA 12,000 pound killer whale grabbed a veteran Seaworld trainer, pulled her inside a pool, where she drowned.

This is the third time this particular animal, Tillikum, had been involved in a death.
The Wildlife World Zoo's Dr. Grey Stafford spent many years working with marine animals and has a lot of experience working with killer whales. We talked to Dr. Grey about the fatal incident at Seaworld

Hanna: Trainer Wouldn’t Want Killer Whale Harmed

Celebrity zookeeper Jack Hanna says a trainer killed at SeaWorld Orlando would not want anything to happen to the killer whale that dragged her from a platform and thrashed her around.

Hanna is the Columbus, Ohio, Zoo’s director emeritus and says he knew trainer Dawn Brancheau professionally for the last 10 years.

Brancheau died Wednesday when the 12,000-pound whale Tilikum dragged her underwater.

Hanna says Brancheau was a beautiful person and probably
Whales and people: Tilly is not to blame for this avoidable tragedy
Tilly, a wild-born killer whale (orca), killed her trainer at SeaWorld Amusement Park in Florida. Many people have asked me about this tragedy so here are a few comments. Details about this most unfortunate incident are available in major media around the world but the accounts vary. First, let me be clear that this is a tragedy for all the animal beings involved. Second, let me be clear that in my opinion this could have been easily avoided if Tilly had not been "on show" and had been allowed to live out the rest of her life in dignity. Animals can be unpredictable, including members of our own species, and captive animals are often highly stressed to begin with. That Tilly had a history of attacking humans does not mean that she was any more likely to attack again, but this should have been taken into account in how she was housed. In a TV interview I saw this morning her former trained in British Columbia said it was his understanding that when Tilly was sold to SeaWorld she would not be used in shows. But, unfortunately, she was. While the details remain unclear, it is totally possible that Tilly was surprised or "freaked out" by something that happened and responded as she did because she was afraid of something unusual. This would be especially so if the trainer had actually slipped into the tank (rather than her being grabbed) as this would have been unexpected by Tilly. Many animals will run away from something that surprises or stresses them but TIlly could not because she was in a cage and there was no where for her

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