SeaWorld Is Not Releasing Tilikum’s Records; What Are They Trying To Hide?

A coalition of international animal advocacy organizations issued an open letter yesterday to SeaWorld CEO Joel K. Manby demanding the release of Tilikum’s necropsy (or animal autopsy) and full clinical history results.

Tilikum, the orca featured in the documentary Blackfish, died in January of a reported bacterial lung infection after more than three decades in captivity.

Though it has been nearly seven months since Tilikum’s passing, SeaWorld has yet to release the records to the National Marine Fisheries Service, which is required under the terms of the orca’s import permit from 1992.

The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) and PETA were among the organizations represented in the letter.

“For months, AWI and its allies have been working in an effort to persuade SeaWorld to release this scientifically valuable information voluntarily, but to no avail. We have called upon federal agencies, met with SeaWorld officials, and written numerous letters and emails explaining SeaWorld’s obligations, both to the law and to science. Despite these efforts, SeaWorld continues to argue that this information is proprietary and will not be released,” Naomi A. Rose, AWI marine mammal scientist said in a statement in which she called SeaWorld’s lack of cooperation inexplicable from a scientific and conservation perspective.

The animal advocacy groups also noted that the permit’s conditions also apply to Tilikum’s progeny, including his granddaughter Kyara, who died of “suspected pneumonia” last month at only three months of age, and at least eight other offspring who are still alive and being used by SeaWorld.

Forty orcas, including Tilikum and Kyara, have now tragically died on SeaWorld’s watch.

While orcas in the wild can travel up to 140 miles per day, orcas at SeaWorld are kept in tiny concrete tanks of chemically treated water, break and grind down their teeth and suffer from infections from gnawing on the pool gates and walls, and are given anti-anxiety drugs to manage stress-induced aggressive behavior.

“PETA is calling on SeaWorld to release Tilikum’s health information, which is not only required but also essential for assessing the ill effects of captivity on orcas,” stated PETA Foundation Director of Animal Law Jared Goodman. “SeaWorld’s ticket sales are nosediving, and keeping these records secret will only cause the company to fall further out of favor.”


Not fast enough for animal advocates everywhere. Not fast enough for the orcas still in captivity. And, sadly, definitely not fast enough for Tilikum and Kyara.

This madness needs to stop before we lose more of our planet’s treasured species.

SeaWorld should hand over the records and if they care as much as they claim to, turn into a rescue and rehabilitation center for marine mammals!

Once again, WAN does not support holding marine mammals (or any animals) in captivity for profit!

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