A February 25 article on CNN.com continues on the horrific story of a Sea World whale trainer who died after being drowned by a killer whale. Whale shows at Sea World have been canceled, understandably. Witnesses say that Dawn Brancheau, "was interacting with the whale, named Tillikum, in knee-deep water when the animal grabbed her by the hair, said to be in a long ponytail, and pulled her underwater." What stands out most is the report that the whale was involved in two previous deaths. Due to the "whale's aggressive nature," quoted from the sheriff's office, she was unable to be rescued in time. It is unclear whether the whale was playing with the trainer, or "frustrated for some reason", says Nancy Black, a marine biologist with 20 years experience with killer whales. Chuck Tompkins, sea world's curator of zoological operations is quoted saying, "This is the first time in 46 years that we've ever had an incident like this with a trainer," he said. "to mark him as a killer is unfair."
I don't think in anyway with a track record like that should anyone have been in the tank with that whale. I know that places as credible as sea world do wonderful things for animals, and give people the gift of seeing some of nautures most beautiful creatures up close. I'm convinced they took safety measures, but how many incidents will happen with this animal until his "trainers" realize this isn't the whale to play around with. Whether the whale was playing or not, when a persons life is in danger just by being around an animal of that size, different precautions must be taken. Precautions like taking more care of the animal elsewhere, at a distance where perhaps no harm can be done if he decides to "play". I don't believe any harm should be done to the whale, but i don't think re-opening the whale shows with this whale as the main event is the right choice either. Some animals are peaceful all the time and are easy to handle. Some are not and can be dangerous to have captive. Even though an animals behavior can be unpredictable, you don't need a psychic to tell you that that whale was involved in two prior deaths.