Sunday will see SeaWorld San Diego's final theatrical orca shows

The final show at SeaWorld San Diego, known colloquially as the Shamu Show, coincides with the death of a whale known as Tilikum at SeaWorld Orlando on Friday.

Tilikum was moved to SeaWorld in Orlando, Fla., where, in 1999, the body of a man who had sneaked past security was found next to the orca the following day.

Tillikum died earlier this week at the estimated age of 36.

"He should be the last orca to die in misery at a SeaWorld amusement park", said the charity on Facebook.

Tilikum had been experiencing declining health and receiving treatment for a bacterial lung infection, the company said in a news release.

This is being hailed as a victory by the environmental and human rights activists who have been campaigning against the SeaWorld company and its practices and treatment of its orcas.

The whale sparked a national discussion about keeping killer whales in captivity when he killed his trainer, Dawn Brancheau, in 2010.


While the breeding program continued, Tilikum was SeaWorld's most prolific male orca, siring 14 calves. The first incident occurred in 1991 at Sealand of the Pacific in which Tilikum along with two other orcas killed a trainer-cum-competitive swimmer after she accidentally slipped into the pool.

As indicated by Joel Manby, President and CEO of SeaWorld, "Tilikum had, and will continue to have, a special place in the hearts of the SeaWorld family, as well as the millions of people all over the world that he inspired".

Last March, six years after Brancheau's death and three years after the release of "Blackfish", SeaWorld announced it would end its breeding program.

After thousands of performances, SeaWorld San Diego's "One Ocean" orca show will end Sunday, closing the chapter on a decades-old practice of including killer whales as park entertainers.

However, public scrutiny, especially in the wake of the 2013 documentary "Blackfish", which highlighted both the appalling conditions for the whales at SeaWorld and Tilikum's deadly past, did lead them to announce they would end their shows by 2019.

She added. Dawn loved Tilikum, and they believe her death was a tragic accident.

"The trainers aren't safe, and the whales aren't happy", said "Blackfish" director, Gabriela Cowperthwaite, as quoted by the Associated Press.


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