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  1. #1
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    "Killer" whale lives up to his name.

    ORLANDO, Fla. — A killer whale attacked and killed a trainer in front of a horrified audience at a SeaWorld show Wednesday, with witnesses saying the animal involved in two previous deaths dragged the trainer under and thrashed her around violently. Distraught audience members were hustled out of the stadium, and the park was immediately closed.

    Veteran trainer Dawn Brancheau, 40, was one of the park's most experienced. It wasn't clear if she drowned or died from the thrashing.

    SeaWorld spokesman Fred Jacobs confirmed the whale was Tilikum, one of three orcas blamed for killing a trainer who lost her balance and fell in the pool with them in 1991 at Sealand of the Pacific in Victoria, British Columbia.

    Tilikum was also involved in a 1999 death, when the body of a man who had sneaked by Orlando SeaWorld security was found draped over him. The man either jumped, fell or was pulled into the frigid water and died of hypothermia, though he was also bruised and scratched by Tilikum.

    A retired couple from Michigan told The Associated Press that Wednesday's killing happened as a noontime show was winding down, with some in the audience staying to watch the animals and trainers.

    Eldon Skaggs, 72, said Brancheau was on a platform with the whale and was massaging it. He said the interaction appeared leisurely and informal.

    Then, Skaggs said, the whale "pulled her under and started swimming around with her."

    Skaggs said an alarm sounded and staff rushed the audience out of the stadium as workers scrambled around with nets.

    Skaggs said he heard that during an earlier show the whale was not responding to directions. Others who attended the earlier show said the whale was behaving like an ornery child.

    The couple left and didn't find out until later that the trainer had died.

    "We were just a little bit stunned," said Skaggs' wife, Sue Nichols, 67.

    Another audience member, Victoria Biniak, told WKMG-TV the whale "took off really fast in the tank, and then he came back, shot up in the air, grabbed the trainer by the waist and started thrashing around, and one of her shoes flew off."

    But Jim Solomons of the Orlando County Sheriff's Office said Brancheau slipped or fell into the whale's tank, which seemed to contradict Biniak's description.

    Authorities provided few immediate details. SeaWorld in San Diego also suspended its killer whale show after Brancheau's death. It is not clear if the killer whale show has been suspended at SeaWorld's San Antonio location, which is closed until the weekend.

    According to a profile of Brancheau in the Orlando Sentinel in 2006, she was one of SeaWorld Orlando's leading trainers. It was apparently a trip to SeaWorld at age 9 that made her want to follow that career path.

    "I remember walking down the aisle (of Shamu Stadium) and telling my mom, 'This is what I want to do,'" she said in the article.

    Brancheau worked her way into a leadership role at Shamu Stadium during her 12-year career with SeaWorld, starting at the Sea Lion & Otter Stadium before spending the past 10 years working with killer whales, the newspaper said.

    She also addressed the dangers of the job.

    "You can't put yourself in the water unless you trust them and they trust you," Brancheau said.

    Steve McCulloch, founder and program manager at the Marine Mammal Research and Conservation Program at Harbor Branch/Florida Atlantic University, said the whale may have been playing, but it is too early to tell.

    "I wouldn't jump to conclusions," he said. "These are very large powerful marine mammals. They exhibit this type of behavior in the wild.

    "Nobody cares more about the animal than the trainer. It's just hard to fathom that this has happened."

    Mike Wald, a spokesman for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration office in Atlanta, said his agency had dispatched an investigator from Tampa.

    Wednesday's death was not the first attack on whale trainers at SeaWorld parks.

    In November 2006, a trainer was bitten and held underwater several times by a killer whale during a show at SeaWorld's San Diego park.

    The trainer, Kenneth Peters, escaped with a broken foot. The 17-foot orca that attacked him was the dominant female of SeaWorld San Diego's seven killer whales. She had attacked Peters two other times, in 1993 and 1999.

    In 2004, another whale at the company's San Antonio park tried to hit one of the trainers and attempted to bite him. He also escaped.

    In December, a whale drowned a trainer at a Spanish zoo.

    Then there was the July 1999 incident at the Orlando SeaWorld, when the body of a naked man was found draped over Tilikum.

    Daniel Dukes reportedly made his way past security and remained in the park after it had closed. Wearing only his underwear, he ended up in the frigid water of Tilikum's huge tank.

    An autopsy ruled that he died of hypothermia in the 50-degree water. But officials also said it appeared Tilikum bit the man and tore off his swimming trunks, likely believing he was a toy to play with.

    Dukes' parents filed a lawsuit against the park later that year but ended up withdrawing it.
    I feel bad for the woman, she obviously loved whales.

    That said If I was Tilikum I woulda done the same thing. If I was a badass predator that became imprisoned and forced to do tricks for fat tourists I would be pretty damn pissed and I dont blame him one bit for using his "trainer" as a chew toy. This isnt even the first incident with Tilikum, its pretty arrogant to think that we can dominate and train beautiful and deadly creatures like Orcas.

  2. #2
    Hugh Conway Guest
    She was pissed hop didn't call her back

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Conway View Post
    She was pissed hop didn't call her back
    That's good.

  4. #4
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    These giants are so stressed living in captivity. It is a shame to keep something like this in a pool.

  5. #5
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    FUCK-A-YOU-WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAALE!




    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Conway View Post
    She was pissed hop didn't call her back
    I LOLED
    Last edited by Summit; 02-25-2010 at 01:16 PM.
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  6. #6
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    On the bright side, two more kills and he's an ace.

    I don't get Hugh's joke.
    Putting the "core" in corporate, one turn at a time.

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  7. #7
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    You can call it tragic. Orca'n ya call Captain Ahab?
    If it wasn't for douchebags there'd be douche all over the place.

  8. #8
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    I patted one fed one for 45 minutes.He could have killed me.But did not.Not to say I would trust them.I´d just protect them not "trust" them.

  9. #9
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    This sucks for the trainer, and I agree that trainers generally love the animals more than anyone. But extremely intelligent hunters like Orcas simply should NOT be kept in captivity. I'm not marine biologist, but I have read numerous books on killer whales, and most studies find that in captivity they basically go nuts over time, get depressed, angry, etc.
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  10. #10
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    I heard on the news that they are trying to figure out how to prevent this from happening again.

    Um how about not keeping a whale in a tank and not going swimming with it. Seems pretty cut and dry to me.
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  11. #11
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    Really a shame because I'm sure she was passionate about her job and seemed like a nice lady. Wonder what the fate of tilikum will be?

  12. #12
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    I say put him back into his natural environment. I know he would die off quickly but at least he could spend his last days swimming freely instead of in prison. I think Keiko proved that extensive whale rehab is a waste of money.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by crstlextrm View Post
    I think Keiko proved that extensive whale rehab is a waste of money.
    How the fuck did a whale get addicted to Heroin!? Is that how they train them? No freaking wonder we are loosing in Afghanistan, do you realize how many freaking poppies it would take to feed the habit of a killer whale? I mean we are printing money for the taliban with this senseless killer whale heroin habit.

  14. #14
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    Time to harpoon that bitch.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by frozenwater View Post
    do you realize how many freaking poppies it would take to feed the habit of a killer whale?
    Not to mention all the gas for the boat that has to follow the whale around so they can stab it with a giant hypodermic needle every few hours!

    Seriously, the only answer is to remove orcas from captivity. How do you do that, though? Orcas are the big draw at places like Sea World. And then why stop with the orcas? What about the other whales including dolphins or even other aquatic mammals like seals and sea lions?

  16. #16
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    "Killer" whale lives up to his name.
    This would be more true if its name were Tukillum rather than Tilikum.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by sidewall View Post
    Wonder what the fate of tilikum will be?
    Sell him to a Japanese sushi restaurant.
    ¡Órale, vato!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by frozenwater View Post
    How the fuck did a whale get addicted to Heroin!? Is that how they train them? No freaking wonder we are loosing in Afghanistan, do you realize how many freaking poppies it would take to feed the habit of a killer whale? I mean we are printing money for the taliban with this senseless killer whale heroin habit.
    Not even herion.............MARIJUANA! Seriously, weed isnt even a drug mannnnnn.

    I dont think dolphins should be kept in captivity either, though they seem to enjoy human interaction more than orcas. I just hate seeing the apex predators locked up.

    Im just really partial to Orcas being from the PNW. Last summer riding my bike on the west side of Lummi Island I was very lucky to see a very large pod (maybe J pod???) cruising by, one of the coolest moments of my life.

  19. #19
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    We saw the show this last October and I was taking pictures - nobody died that day though... I see where the haters are coming from but I loved Sea World. All the employees were first class people with brains in contrast to the robots at Disney parks. That dude is big, reminded be of a VW bus with fins and a real motor.



    Vibes to the girl - after examining this picture close up it appears that she is he gal on lookers right behind the whale. Seems similar to a skiing death though, she knew the risks and died doing something she loved.
    Last edited by uglymoney; 02-25-2010 at 01:29 PM.

  20. #20
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    The ones in captivity now should be kept in captivity but they shouldn't be performing circus acts. That's completely fucking stupid. They're not poodles, they're Killer Whales. Realistically, if you want to see wild animals you should go see them in the wild.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jer View Post
    The ones in captivity now should be kept in captivity but they shouldn't be performing circus acts. That's completely fucking stupid. They're not poodles, they're Killer Whales. Realistically, if you want to see wild animals you should go see them in the wild.
    Whats even more fucked up is that they continually try to impregnate the females, most of them die very young or are miscarried but they're are a good amount of young whales that were born in captivity.

  22. #22
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    This is why we need people to be able carry guns in our animal parks as well as our national parks. Couple of motivated, well-trained patriots could a tore that whale a new one.

  23. #23
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    The best are the dumbfuck media talking heads - "Gee - should this rogue whale be put down??". Exactly what the hell will that accomplish, moron? Will it send a message to all the other captive orcas being forced to do circus tricks that they better behave or else? I can tell you that that is the last thing Dawn Brancheau would have wanted.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by WrongWay View Post
    This is why we need people to be able carry guns in our animal parks as well as our national parks. Couple of motivated, well-trained patriots could a tore that whale a new one.
    It wouldnt be patriotic, but it would be mighty BRAVE!

  25. #25
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    pretty awesome. hope they dont do anything detrimental to the whale (besides, you know, the whole being trapped in a kiddie pool your whole life thing) just to punish it or isolate it or whatever.

    and I'm really saddened in this age of iphones and phone sized computers that no one got a video of this awesome event. sometimes people need that occasional reminder we are not always top of the food chain.

    We've won it. It's going to get better now. You can sort of tell these things.

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