SeaWorld says health of killer whale Tilikum is deteriorating

SeaWorld said Tuesday that the health of Tilikum, the killer whale that killed Dawn Brancheau in 2010, is deteriorating.

After Brancheau’s death, Tilikum and SeaWorld’s treatment of its killer whales became the focus of the 2013 documentary film “Blackfish.”

 Two killer whales flip through the air Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010, during the first show since a whale killed a trainer at the SeaWorld theme park in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, Pool)

Two killer whales flip through the air Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010, during the first show since a whale killed a trainer at the SeaWorld theme park in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, Pool)

SeaWorld announced Tilikum’s illness on Twitter. “We’re saddened to report that recently Tilikum’s health has deteriorated,” SeaWorld said in a tweet.

SeaWorld released more details about the whale’s illness in a blog post, saying veterinarians believe he is suffering from a bacterial infection in his lungs. SeaWorld said the bacteria is “very resistant to treatment,” adding that a “cure for his illness has not been found.”

“Tilikum’s behavior has become increasingly lethargic, and the SeaWorld veterinary and animal care teams are concerned that his health is beginning to deteriorate,” the blog post said.

SeaWorld estimates that Tilikum is about 35 years old. He came to SeaWorld from Sealand of the Pacific in Canada 23 years ago.

 

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