Killer Whale

SeaWorld Knew Orca Was Dangerous

Tilikum, the orca that killed a trainer at an Orlando SeaWorld Wednesday afternoon, always had a bad reputation, even before he turned on trainer Dawn Brancheau. Though trainers often swam with the seven other killer whales at SeaWorld, they were forbidden from doing so with Tilikum, the largest orca in any of the chain’s parks. The reason was that Tilikum had attacked humans before. In 1991, he and two other orcas drowned someone in front of spectators at Sealand of the Pacific, in Victoria, British Columbia. Eight years later, Tilikum was believed to have bitten the naked body of a man who had apparently crept into SeaWorld after hours and died of hypothermia in the water. And on Wednesday, one park visitor who witnessed the gruesome attack on the trainer said that the whale "thrashed her all around" after suddenly coming out of the water.