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Feb. 24 2010 - 4:57 pm | 66,844 views | 1 recommendation | 23 comments

Killer whale Tilikum in the Shamu show kills trainer at SeaWorld; video shows whales have attacked park staff before

Has the Cetacean Uprising of 2010 begun? With Shamu killing a trainer at SeaWorld this afternoon, we have to ask: was this merely an act of workplace violence, or was the whale a terrorist who was angry about being forced to pay his taxes even though he isn’t even a human? Or was Shamu talking to a Yemeni cleric on the Internet who convinced him that this was a good way to go to heaven as an Islamist martyr?

All joking aside, an Orca or killer whale killed an unnamed trainer at SeaWorld in Florida today, and all live killer whale shows have been suspended, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Of course, Shamu is not just one whale – it can be any number of male or female whales kept by the park.

And, it’s not the first time the trainers have had problems with ‘Shamu.’ Here is a video from the show Maximum Exposure that shows a whale wigging out during a training session:

The Orlando Sentinel described today’s attack in this manner:

Park guest Victoria Biniak told Local 6 that the trainer was a veteran of SeaWorld and had just finished explaining to the audience what they would see during the performance.

At that point, Biniak said, the whale came up from the water and grabbed the woman.

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.”

I guess it’s necessary to remind everyone that killer whales are called ‘killers’ for a reason. They’re meat eaters, and it’s hard to know when they’re having a bad day. A pity for this trainer, and all the people watching the show, that this was one of them.

Also, can someone make sure the orcas are having a good day the next time Halle Berry decides to hang out with her close, personal friend Shamu, as she does in the gallery below?



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  1. collapse expand

    Seems to me not surprisingly that these creatures have a will and desires.

  2. collapse expand

    Nothing like a slew of sarcasm to make light of the situation…Really? I see this as a pretty serious matter; a person died today, and not the first to have been victim of such an incident.

    Your horrendous attempt at putting “all joking aside” failed miserably after you continued to discuss “bad day[s]” and Halle Berry. I’d advise maybe just a tad more respect and remorse next time. Well done Mr. Roston, I salute you. (How’s that for sarcasm?)

    By the way, did you go to school for this?

  3. collapse expand

    I just heard on the AM news that same whale was involved in two other deaths in 2 decades, if true, and I am sure it is, this is a whole different issue now. GREED.

  4. collapse expand

    Tilikum was the guilty Orca. Not Shamu…

  5. collapse expand

    My favorite thing about that video is the “wacka-wacka” tone in the announcers voice and the playful rock music being played as the trainer is nearly eaten alive.

    Also, Roston should watch his tone. Uncool.

  6. collapse expand

    I’m no reporter, but isn’t the whale’s name Tilikum? Is every killer whale referred to as Shamu?

  7. collapse expand

    First, you err in the scientific aspect of your reporting:

    “I guess it’s necessary to remind everyone that killer whales are called ‘killers’ for a reason. They’re meat eaters…”

    That is not entirely true. Not all orcas eat meat. There are many different types of Orca’s that roam the Oceans. For instance, there are “Transient” Killer Whales and there are “Residents.”

    Here in Puget Sound, the most watched and beloved orcas in the world, “The Southern Residents,” eat only fish. They feed almost exclusively on king salmon. That, along with all the pollution, is why they were listed as endangered in 2006: salmon are also endangered.

    More important, even if Tilikum the Icelandic Bull is a carnivorous orca that preferred a diet of sea lion, there is not one recorded incident of an orca ever intentionally harming a human in the wild. From my own experience, having encountered a wild orca up close while on a light weight inflatable Zodiak*, I think it is highly unlikely that Tilikum would have posed a threat to people, were the 13,000 pound orca not being held captive in a holding tank the size of a swimming pool.

    It is also a misnomer to call them whales. Orcas are the largest of the dolphins, and, incidentally, have brains that closely resemble the human brain, but four times the size with something like 400 times the connections.

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