The Shamu Show Will Go On at SeaWorld; Tillikum Linked to Two Other Deaths
Just days after a veteran trainer was killed after being attacked by an orca at SeaWorld Orlando, president and general manager Jim Atchison says that the park's marquee Shamu show will resume tomorrow. Atchison made his statement speaking in front of a tank filled with whales.
Trainers at the three locations in Orlando, San Antonio, and San Diego will not be allowed in the water with the animals as the company conducts a review.
Forty-year-old trainer Dawn Brancheau was killed Wednesday when a whale, Tillikum, grabbed her ponytail and dragged her into the water. A former SeaWorld trainer went on Good Morning America today and said that incident may have been triggered by a mistake on Brancheau's party. He believed she shouldn't have allowed her ponytail to drift in the water in front of Tillikum.
The orca has been linked to two other deaths. In 1991, while in captivity at the now-defunct Sea Land in Canada, he was one of three orcas who drowned a trainer. In 1999, a dead body was found draped across his back. Investigators believed that the man had snuck into the tank at night.
Tillikum will remain an "active, contributing member of the team," says Atchison. Though the Orlando Sentinel says it's not clear when or if he'll perform in front of crowds again.
SeaWorld is setting up a memorial fund in Brancheau's name.
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