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SeaWorld Orlando (SWO) Discussion Thread

p. 276: Penguin Trek family coaster announced!

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Hey, we don't kill people who kill people, we just lock them away for the rest of their life, give them a roof over their head, 3 meals a day, and some time to exercise. Since whales are our brothers of the ocean, I say let Tili live, at the taxpayers expense!

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I dont understand your arguement that it would be more human to kill the whale. You cant blame a killer whale for doing what comes natural to it. As for not displaying animals and that its "sick", if we applied that logic to all animals then we shouldnt raise cows for beef, we shouldnt fish for food, keep dogs and cats for pets. Robb would not be able to make his hot wings.

While Sea World exhibits fish for profit, they also use the profits and the interaction as research to save and help all sorts of marine life. Many of us would never have the understanding or the care for these animals if we hadnt seen them at Sea World. With the "release all of them" logic we wouldnt know about these wonderful animals until greenpeace rams the Japanese boat that killing them with no disregard to future populations. There is a lot of good that comes from their research as well as what BGA does for African animals. There is no difference in my mind between the value of a whale or a horse or a dog or any animal for that manner. There is always going to be danger involved with working with animals, and the trainers at the parks know this above all else. I for one think the benefits far outweigh the negatives.

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^From what I understand, that's pretty much what it was doing.


It was in the back area, in a separate pool where people can just go look at it. (Shamu's Underwater Viewing Area, I believe) Guests never get to touch it or get close to it (except through thick glass), and apparently the trainer wasn't even in the water with it.

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At this point it might be more humane to euthaize the whale. I think it is clear that he doesn't want to be there and be used for these purposes. And, he is clearly a danger. It really isn't fair.


How is euthanizing the whale humane? Ending a seemingly healthy whale's life does not seem to be a humane action. The whale should just be moved to a facility or pool where he doesn't feel 'threatened' or 'agitated' by trainers and/or park guests.


Why are people saying to kill the whale? Yes it killed someone which is horrible, but why not allow the whale to go back to freedom where it belongs? Why continue to keep it contained? Why should an animal be punished for something we caused? These are just my thoughts.



I don't think they can set the whale free, after being in captivity for such a long time, I don't know if the whale would be able to survive in the wild. It's unfortunate to take animals away from their natural environments, but as Robb and Joey have pointed out, the marine mammals at Sea World have a very posh life. Sea World uses these animals for conservation efforts and education. These animals are in no way mistreated. I agree that the animal should not be punished; efforts simply need to be made to protect the people interacting with him.

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I did some looking on teh internets, and I found the exit interview conducted by Tilly's former employer. Apparently this whale has has a bad attitude for quite some time. I'm surprised how long the public has been kept in the dark about the whales' true feelings. After reading, it seems obvious that something like this was bound to happen.


* What is your primary reason for leaving?

"Apparently someone down at Sea World Orlando is looking for a hot stud. I hope it's one of

those hot Icelandic orcas they've captured in the past."


* Did anything trigger your decision to leave?

"Um, well, I may have killed someone. But you can't prove that, Russ."

* What was most satisfying about your job?

"Free food, and nailing the females in the tank."

* What was least satisfying about your job?

"I'm in a friggin' tank 24/7.....what do you think?"


* What would you change about your job?

"Better pay, more vacation time, and better health care plan....and maybe a couch and a

flat panel TV in the the break room."

* Did your job duties turn out to be as you expected?

"Yeah, exactly as I expected. It was my dream to be captured and forced to perform

tricks for little snotnosed brats while living in a tank for the rest of my life."

* Did you receive enough training to do your job effectively?

"You mean the sex part, the tricks for paying customers, or the killing?"

* Did you receive adequate support to do your job?

"What, like a jock strap? I mean, I am the biggest stud in captivity, you know?"

* Did you receive sufficient feedback about your performance between merit reviews?

"What merit reviews? Those bastards in corporate couldn't care less about that stuff."

* Were you satisfied with this company's merit review process?

"Did I stutter?"


* Did this company help you to fulfill your career goals?

"Are you serious? Do you want me to come across this tank and take you for a swim?"


* Do you have any tips to help us find your replacement?

"What, you mean you don't have an overflow of applications from orcas just waiting to

be taken against their will and forced to perform in small tanks for the rest of their

living days?"


* What was the quality of the supervision you received?

"I'd say it was right on par with Bobo the Dancing Grizzly Bear over in mother Russia."


* What could your immediate supervisor do to improve his or her management style?

"Chew on a hand grenade?"


* Based on your experience with us, what do you think it takes to succeed at this company?


* Did any company policies or procedures (or any other obstacles) make your job more difficult?

"Hmmm, small tank, being away from family, um.......no freedom. Did I mention no freedom?"


* Would you consider working again for this company in the future?

"Wait, there's a hidden camera here, right?"


* Would you recommend working for this company to your family and friends?

"Do they have a choice?"


* How do you generally feel about this company?

"It's not clear by now?"


* What did you like most about this company?

"Leaving. Oh, and killing that trainer was pretty cool too."


* What did you like least about this company?

"This exit interview."


* What does your new company offer that this company doesn't?

"A pimped out new tank that actually fits my size, more females to nail, and free beer

at the Hospitality House, beyotch."


* Before deciding to leave, did you investigate a transfer within the company?

"You mean, like to a larger, more adequate size tank?"

* Did anyone in this company discriminate against you, harass you or cause hostile working conditions?

"Yes, but I killed them."


* Any other comments?

"Look out O-Town ladies, there's a new stud in town!"

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The normal reaction is a knee-jerk one - close the park, terminate the whale etc etc. In reality there is always the risk of this and I'm sure the trainer herself knew this. It's a risky job like so many other jobs but I'm sure she loved it or she wouldn't have done it?


What people don't seem to realize is that in just about ANY profession, there is the "freak accident" that could happen.


Truck drivers getting into accidents, airline pilots getting into plane crashes, road construction workers getting hit by a car, mcdonalds fry cooks falling into burning hot oil, porn stars getting a fatal case of syphilis, fire fighters getting hit by an unsuspected school bus, video game producers having one of their ex-level designers who got fired for leaving their bong on the conference room table while he's passed out on the sofa in the other room shooting up the place to get revenge.


Life sucks in so many weird and unusual ways. This is one of them. People just need to deal with it.



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What people don't seem to realize is that in just about ANY profession, there is the "freak accident" that could happen. Life sucks in so many weird and unusual ways. This is one of them. People just need to deal with it.


That pretty much sums up my feelings. It's sad, yes. But isn't the whole point of the trainers riding around on the whales that it's cool because it's kind of dangerous? (I now that isn't exactly what was going on here, but still.) Seems like they've done pretty well so far, on balance.


You try to minimize risk, but ultimately, you could die on your couch watching TV. When a plane crashes, nobody suggests we no longer fly airplanes. When a car crashes, no one even really takes note of it.


As for this particular orca, I suspect that humans are no longer going to be allowed within striking distance of it. Beyond that, nothing really needs to be done, in my admittedly-uninformed opinion.

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People have died from roller coaster accidents. Should you close the coaster because someone died? Probably not.

A man dies from a whale accident, do you kill the whale? No. In essence, both things are doing what they were meant to do. And somthing went wrong. I don't think they should kill the whale. Besides, it will give the park publicity.


A father and his son walk into the park.

son: "hey dad did you know that whale killed someone?"

dad: "really! That's awesome, let's go see it!"


In turn they may be inclined to spend more. I don't want to come across like a money hungry jerk either.

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I can not say I agree or disagree with these shows the involve animals. What I will say is when an animal has had a past with attacks or violence they should not be used in these shows. They can still get the tender love and care they deserve behind the scenes where they are not being made to perform. Now some animals love the attention be it dolphins, seals, dogs, cats, any animal and for them animals I do not mind the shows.


This goes to show that these animals still have animal instincts and they will act on them when they feel the need to.

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Humans, unlike animals, are not born with an instinct to kill.


While murder was definitely a wrong word choice, I still don't see how this justifies an animal not being punished for performing an act that would be punishable by death if it were done by a human.


I mean, the whale apparently jumped out of the water, attacked the trainer, and slung her around in the water until she had drowned...how can you simply mark that up as an, "oops, that wasn't lucky..." and continue on about your day as if the animal hadn't done anything significant?


How can you punish an animal that doesn't even know what it did was wrong? It doesn't live by a human legal system.


Matt "constantly amazed at the sudden upturn in know it alls, when this stuff occurs" Jacobs

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^ Legal or not, the whale clearly failed to file a "kill trainer" form before it attacked, and is therefore due for a very poor performance review, if nothing else.


/I suppose we could lock it in a cage for the rest of its life. That'd show it.

Edited by Electerik
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^^The whale should be put on trial! Hopefully on one of those judge shows that clog the cable in the afternoon...





Welcome to Sea World Court. Here are your judges, Clyde and Seymour.


Today, did Tilly file all the proper murder a human paperwork before conducting such a heinous act!

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^"Your honor, we move for a mistrial and a new jury. It is improosible for my client, an alleged 'killer' whale, to receive a fair hearing before a jury of seals. Their bias against my client's species is obvious!"

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I can not say I agree or disagree with these shows the involve animals. What I will say is when an animal has had a past with attacks or violence they should not be used in these shows. They can still get the tender love and care they deserve behind the scenes where they are not being made to perform. Now some animals love the attention be it dolphins, seals, dogs, cats, any animal and for them animals I do not mind the shows.


This goes to show that these animals still have animal instincts and they will act on them when they feel the need to.


Killer Whales are technically in the Dolphin family, not the Whale family. In the past 10 or pages I have read I didn't see this mentioned anywhere, but like 10 - 15 years ago another Sea World trainer was killed by an Orca (Killer Whale) and it turned out later that the trainer was somehow abusing the animals (sexually or physically, I don't remember which). There was a big uproar then about the shows being ended and what not and it eventually died down and things continued...obviously since no one has mentioned it in this thread.


"We only conserve what we love, we only love what we understand, we only understand what we know, we only know what we are taught.”

Baba Dioum, Senegalese Ecologist


I love that quote so much! At their core base parks like Sea World and zoos are necessary because of this statement; however they have to make themselves entertaining to get the people in the gates to learn.

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Orange County Sheriff's Office investigators said today that SeaWorld Orlando trainer Dawn Brancheau died from "multiple traumatic injuries and drowning" after a killer whale pulled her underwater by her long pony tail near the theme park's Shamu Stadium. Investigators released a statement shortly after an official at SeaWorld Orlando said that the killer whale, Tilikum, is being evaluated and that the theme park will keep the animal.


Brancheau, 40, on Wednesday was "interacting" with the killer whale in knee-deep water "when the animal grabbed her by the hair, said to be in a long pony tail, and pulled her underwater," the Orange County Sheriff's Office said a statement. "Rescuers were not able to immediately jump in and render assistance" to Brancheau due to Tilikum's "aggressive nature."


The Orange-Osceola Medical Examiner's Office conducted the autopsy this morning and concluded Brancheau died of traumatic injuries, but details about those injuries were not released. Toxicology screenings will be conducted which will delay the final findings for several weeks, according to a spokeswoman for the Medical Examiner's office.


The orca that killed veteran trainer Brancheau has been linked to two previous deaths since 1991.


Investigators said SeaWorld staffers recovered her after Tilikum "was coaxed into a smaller pool and lifted out of the water by a large scale/platform that lay on the bottom of the smaller tank," the statement said. "While this incident remains the subject of an ongoing death investigation there are no signs of foul play. All evidence and witness statements indicate that the death was a tragic accident," the statement added. Investigators said rescue workers originally thought Brancheau had "slipped or fell into the orca's pool but, after witness statements were taken and reviewed by homicide investigators, it became apparent that the whale had, in fact, pulled Brancheau into the pool and was the cause of her fatal injuries," the statement said.


Killer whale to stay put


Chuck Tompkins, the corporate curator in charge of animal behavior for SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, said that he expects SeaWorld to be taking care of the orca for a long time. He added that he does not think the animal could survive in the wild. "I think it's unfair to do that to an animal," he said, adding that SeaWorld employees also continue to mourn Brancheau, their longtime coworker and friend. "This has been extremely difficult for us. . . . Every animal loved working with Dawn," said Tompkins.


The fatal killer whale attack of SeaWorld Orlando trainer Dawn Brancheau continued to make international news this morning. Much of the debate on morning news shows centered on what to do with Tilikum.


Earlier today, Jack Hanna, a well-known animal expert with ties to Central Florida, spoke on national television about the tragedy, saying animal experts such as Brancheau are aware of the risks, as well as the benefits, of working with live animals. "The only thing I can compare it to is when the astronauts went to the space station and that tragic thing happened coming back," Hanna said, referring to the 2003 disintegration of the Columbia space shuttle that killed seven astronauts. "Why did we do that? We did that to learn more about space and how that will help us."


Tourists react to death


This morning, as tourists returned to the park, an announcement was made on the speaker system, apologizing that The Shamu Show would be closed today. Nothing was said about the death.


"It's scary," SeaWorld Orlando visitor April D'Agostino said this morning. "But they know what's at risk when they get in the tank with those whales." D'Agostino heard the news about the trainer's death on television, as did the Malkins from Asheville, N.C. "I'm sensing that the mood today is a little more somber," Heidi Malkin said while visiting the park. Although Malkin and her husband, Dave, heard about Wednesday's accident on television, it didn't prevent them from visiting SeaWorld Orlando. "We wondered how the park would be different today," Dave Malkin added. About six television news trucks, most representing local stations, were outside the park before its 9 a.m. opening, but there was otherwise little evidence that anything at the park had changed.


Tourist Dennis Diego, 30, of Sao Paolo, Brazil, said he wasn't immediately aware about what happened, even though he was at the park Wednesday and saw helicopters flying overhead. He found out about the attack after he and his wife, Vanessa, 29, returned to their hotel. The Diegos had seen the same show where the accident happened earlier in the day, but it had not been the best performance. "Not everything went right," said Dennis Diego. "The girl said the whales were not in the mood for it."


As the park opened today, cars streamed into the parking lot. At the entrance to SeaWorld, a sign informed guests that The Shamu Show would remain closed.


In his television appearance, Hanna, director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio, said that holding animals in captivity not only conserves the creatures, but it also helps educate people. "Why do we have whales, as well as elephants and other animals? We have it to educate folks," he said. "It's the last chance we have to save these animals."


SeaWorld said that 12,000-pound Tilikum pulled Brancheau, a 40-year-old veteran animal trainer, into the orca's tank about 2 p.m. "Dawn was a beautiful person," Hanna said on CNN. "I did several shows with her . . . with Tilly, even in the background -- that type of thing.'' he said. "I could tell you now she would want her work to continue." Hanna said the previous death linked to Tilikum was a different situation.


In 1999, park officials found the naked body of Daniel Dukes lying across Tilikum's back at SeaWorld Orlando. Dukes apparently had sneaked into SeaWorld after hours to swim with the animals. "That's like going over the fence at the NASCAR race," Hanna said. "You can't blame SeaWorld for that."


SeaWorld acquired Tilikum after another fatal incident. In 1991, Tilikum and two female killer whales dragged trainer Keltie Byrne underwater, drowning her in front of spectators at Sealand of the Pacific, a defunct aquarium in Victoria, British Columbia.


SeaWorld San Diego cancels show


Also Thursday, SeaWorld San Diego, a sister park to SeaWorld Orlando, canceled its Shamu show for the second consecutive day in response to the death here. San Diego park officials had not yet determined whether Friday's show would be canceled. But the park has worked to improve safety after several incidents over the last three decades in which trainers were injured, officials said.


In 1971, an employee suffered puncture wounds when a killer whale tossed her, according to Times reports. The most recent San Diego attack occurred in 2006 when a 33-year-old trainer was hospitalized after a killer whale dragged him to the bottom of the Shamu pool during a show.


"We're terribly saddened by the loss of the member of our SeaWorld family, it doesn't matter what park," SeaWorld San Diego spokesman David Koontz said Wednesday.

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From what I have heard, the whale WAS still performing but not with trainers in the water. They were in the stadium tank and the show had ended. As the trainer was rubbing the whale down as a form of praise, her long ponytail swung by the whale and it grabbed her by the ponytail and dragged her under. The public did see it but the stadium was almost empty.

I'm guessing that the whale thought her ponytail was actually a treat that was being presented for training.

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The family of Dawn Brancheau has asked SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment to send this message on their behalf requesting respect for their space and privacy at this difficult time.



You have all heard what an amazing trainer Dawn Brancheau was and it is true - she was the best. It came naturally to her. Being a trainer was a life-long dream that she achieved. She loved her job, and she loved her animals.


For her husband, family and friends, Dawn was so much more. She was a compassionate and loving person who lived life to the fullest. She touched so many lives. Those who knew and loved her have suffered a tremendous loss, one so unexpected that it is extremely difficult to even process or comprehend at this time. Our family sincerely appreciates everyone’s prayers and compassionate thoughts for Dawn, her husband and family.


While we understand that this tragic event is capturing headlines across the country, at this time, our family needs space and privacy to absorb our loss. We sincerely hope that the media will honor and respect this request.


Funeral and memorial arrangements are pending.


Thank you.

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Tilikum Update


We have received several requests to clarify our previous statement on Tilikum. SeaWorld took on the care of Tilikum 18 years ago, and we will continue to care for the animal's social and psychological stimulation, care and nutrition as we always have. As part of the investigation of yesterday's incident, we are reviewing protocols regarding the proximity of our trainers to Tilikum, and will make any amendments necessary.

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"Many people are asking about the future care of Tilikum, the whale involved in the incident," the blog post said. "We have every intention of continuing to interact with this animal, though the procedures for working with him will change."


"We recognized he was different," said Chuck Tompkins, head of animal training at all SeaWorld parks. He said no decision has been made yet about what will happen to Tilikum, such as transferring him to another facility.



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