AirTalk for July 12, 2013

Can killer whales be kept safely in captivity?

Killer Whales performing at SeaWorld


Killer Whales performing at SeaWorld

In February 2010, a performing killer whale named Tilikum killed Dawn Brancheau, killed a trainer at SeaWorld. People blamed Brancheau’s death on “trainer error,” but Tilikum is notorious for being the only Orca in the world that has taken the lives of several people while in captivity. In Blackfish, director-producer Gabriela Cowperthwaite explores the complexities of the relationships between trainers and killer whales in captivity and looks at the treatment the animals face.

Is it possible for these powerful animals to be tamed? Are all whales in captivity traumatized by that experience? Or is it possible for them to be kept safely?


Gabriela Cowperthwaite, director of the documentary “Blackfish”

John Hargrove, former killer whale trainer with nearly two decades training orcas at SeaWorld of California, SeaWorld of Texas, and Marineland in the south of France

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