Tilikum has died.
Involved in the killing of three humans, the focus of the movie Blackfish, and the book A Death at SeaWorld, Tilikum was certainly the most famous whale, and quite possibly the most noted and notorious non-human being, in the world.He was above all a performer. But beneath all, he was a killer whale. It’s a name I use without prejudice. As Herman Melville wrote of the species in Moby-Dick, “Exception might be taken to the name bestowed upon this whale . . . for we are all killers.” And as a killer whale, he had a mind, a mind that could perhaps have been affected by a life of abuse.
In 1983 a two-year-old, 12-foot-long killer whale caught in Iceland arrived at Sealand in Victoria, Canada. They named him Tilikum. A former trainer there, Eric Walters, remembered Tilikum as, “Very well behaved, and he was always eager to please… Tilikum was the one you trusted.”