Killer Whales: Tanks and Tensions

Outside magazine has gone deep on the story of the killer whale that killed at SeaWorld. We get the whole story of whales and captivity.

UPDATE, Aug. 23, 2010: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has fined SeaWorld of Florida $75,000 for the deadly incident this year.

SeaWorld (AP)

In February, at SeaWorld in Orlando, a 12,000-pound bull killer whale named “Tilikum” grabbed trainer Dawn Brancheau by the pony tail, pulled her into the tank, and killed her.

The country was shocked. Maybe we shouldn’t have been.

Now, reporter Tim Zimmerman with Outside magazine has gone deep on the story of how killer whales are captured and kept — how these magnificent animals suffer for our delight.

And he tells the story of Tilikum in particular, who had been there for death twice before.

This Hour, On Point: the whole story of the killer whale and the dead trainer.


Tim Zimmerman, correspondent for Outside magazine. His article in the July issue is “The Killer in the Pool.”

Thad Lacinak spent 35 years at Busch Entertainment Corporation. He left there as vice president and corporate curator of animal training, where he directed animal training at all U.S. SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Theme Parks. He is founder of  Precision Behavior, which offers professional education programs for domestic and wild animals.

Ken Balcomb, founder and senior scientist at the Center for Whale Research, which for more than three decades has been conducting a census of the killer whale population in the inland waters of Washington State and lower British Columbia.


Hear more sound of killer whales under water, courtesy of the Orca Network:

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