Just over a year after Seaworld killer whale Tilikum killed a trainer, the theme park is letting Tilikum return to performing. Tilikum made his first appearance since the February 2010 tragedy on Wednesday morning during the “Believe” show.
Seaworld issued a statement on Tilikum’s return saying it is an “important component of his physical, social and mental enrichment.” “He has been regularly interacting with his trainers and the other whales for the purposes of training, exercise and social and mental stimulation, and has enjoyed access to all of the pools in the Shamu Stadium complex,” Seaworld added.
Tilikum killed trainer Dawn Brancheau on February 24, 2010 after pulling her into his tank by her ponytail. Before that he was blamed for the deaths of another trainer and a homeless man who jumped into his tank.
Since Brancheau’s death, Seaworld has put several new precautions and safety rules in place. Trainers are no longer allowed to get in the orca’s tanks and long hair must be secured properly. Precautions include rising floors being installed in the bottom of the tanks, putting vehicles underwater to distract the whales in case someone falls in and providing portable oxygen tanks for trainers.
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