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In case you were wondering what happens when you take a wild animal, put him in a tank and make him do a circus act



ORLANDO, Fla. – A SeaWorld spokesman says a killer whale that attacked and killed a trainer in Orlando is the same one involved in two other deaths, including a Canada trainer's.

SeaWorld spokesman Fred Jacobs says the whale that killed 40-year-old trainer Dawn Brancheau in front of a horrified audience Wednesday is Tilikum.

Tilikum was one of three whales blamed for killing a trainer in 1991 at Sealand of the Pacific in Victoria, British Columbia.

A man's body was also found draped over Tilikum at Orlando SeaWorld in July 1999.

Daniel Dukes reportedly made his way past security at SeaWorld and either jumped, fell or was pulled into the frigid water of Tilikum's huge tank.

An autopsy ruled that he died of hypothermia, but authorities said it appeared Tilikum bit the man and tore off his swimming trunks.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A killer whale attacked and killed a trainer in front of a horrified audience Wednesday at a SeaWorld show, with at least one witness saying the animal leaped from the water, dragged her under and thrashed her around violently.

Distraught audience members were hustled out of the stadium, and the park was immediately closed.

The 40-year-old veteran trainer was one of the park's most experienced. It was not clear exactly how she died.

An audience member said a show was just starting when the whale "took off really fast in the tank, and then he came back, shot up in the air, grabbed the trainer by the waist and started thrashing around, and one of her shoes flew off," Victoria Biniak told WKMG-TV.

But Jim Solomons of the Orlando County Sheriff's Office, said the trainer slipped or fell into the whale's tank, which seemed to contradict Biniak's description.

Authorities provided few immediate details, but two witnesses told the Orlando Sentinel that one of the park's whales grabbed the woman by the upper arm and tossed her around in its mouth while swimming rapidly around the tank.

Brazilian tourist Joao Lucio DeCosta Sobrinho and his girlfriend were at an underwater viewing area when they suddenly saw a whale with someone in its mouth.

The couple said they watched the whale show at the park two days earlier and came back to take pictures. But on Wednesday the whales appeared agitated before the incident occurred.

"It was terrible. It's very difficult to see the image," Sobrinho said.

The trainer was identified as Dawn Brancheau, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he had not been cleared to officially release her name.

According to a profile of Brancheau in the Orlando Sentinel in 2006, she was one of SeaWorld Orlando's leading trainers. It was apparently a trip to SeaWorld at 9 years old that made her want to pursue this career.
"I remember walking down the aisle (of Shamu Stadium) and telling my mom, 'This is what I want to do,'" she said in the article.
Brancheau worked her way into a leadership role at Shamu Stadium during her 12-year career with SeaWorld, starting at the Sea Lion & Otter Stadium before spending the past 10 years working with killer whales, the newspaper said.
She also addressed the dangers of the job.
"You can't put yourself in the water unless you trust them and they trust you," Brancheau said.
Steve McCulloch, founder and program manager at the Marine Mammal Research and Conservation Program at Harbor Branch/Florida Atlantic University, said the whale may have been playing, but it is too early to tell.
"It could be play behavior. I wouldn't jump to conclusions," he said. "These are very large powerful marine mammals. They exhibit this type of behavior in the wild."
"Nobody cares more about the animal than the trainer. It's just hard to fathom that this has happened."
Mike Wald, a spokesman for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration office in Atlanta, said his agency had dispatched an investigator from Tampa.
Wednesday's death was not the first attack on whale trainers at SeaWorld parks.
In November 2006, a trainer was bitten and held underwater several times by a killer whale during a show at SeaWorld's San Diego park.
The trainer, Kenneth Peters, escaped with a broken foot. The 17-foot orca that attacked him was the dominant female of SeaWorld San Diego's seven killer whales. She had attacked Peters two other times, in 1993 and 1999.
In 2004, another whale at the company's San Antonio park tried to hit one of the trainers and attempted to bite him. He also escaped.
In December, a whale drowned a trainer at a Spanish zoo.
At the Orlando SeaWorld, the body of a naked man was found draped over a 5-ton orca named Tilikum in July 1999. He was scratched and bruised.
Daniel Dukes reportedly made his way past security at SeaWorld and remained in the park after it had closed. Wearing only his underwear, Dukes either jumped, fell or was pulled into the frigid water of Tilikum's huge tank.
An autopsy ruled that he died of hypothermia in the 50-degree water. But they also said it appeared Tilikum bit the man and tore off his swimming trunks, likely believing he was a toy to play with.
Dukes' parents filed a lawsuit against the park later that year but ended up withdrawing it.
 

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Wow, that is horrible.

This is the woman killed
 

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THAT'S why they call them KILLER whales.



They kill and eat stuff.

That includes us.



It's too bad this happened.
 

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Wild animals, wild ways. Some will say the animal was only playing... It weighs 12,000 pounds. We ought not to play with such things.

Sorry a life was lost in such a way. Deepest sympathy to the family of thevictim.
 

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This is why you shouldnt mess with a Big ass fish! Yeah I know its not a fish....Whatever the thing has big ass teeth and has fins and lives in water. Its a damn fish, and they eat $hit! This is one of the reasons Rip dont go in the water. I have a buddy that scuba dives and he has been trying to get me to go for year.....BS you put my big ass in a wet suit and I will look like a sea Lion and big ass fish eat sea lions So no thank You!
 

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THIS IS PRETTY BAD - REPORTED TODAY.

What led the killer whale Tillikum to attack and kill one of his SeaWorld trainers in Orlando, Fla., will not be known until behavioral records from the days and weeks preceding the incident are examined. But one thing is becoming clear: the attack was violent and bloody, perpetrated with viciousness by a member of one of the smartest of ocean species.

Tillikum did not just knock Dawn Brancheau over and drag her down to drown at the bottom of the pool. According to a source, he rose out of the water to snag Brancheau by her ponytail, yanking her into the water for two brief but shocking episodes in the pool. After grabbing her by her hair, he toyed with her underwater for two minutes as she struggled to use trainer signals to calm him down and get him to release her. He knocked her about and, according to some reports, had her by the waist, her blood spreading through the clear water, in full sight of members of the public that had been watching Tillikum with another trainer through a glass underwater window.

She was still alive at the end of the first takedown after Tillikum let her go. But he watched as she tried to get to safety and then grabbed her again and held her for another minute underwater, this time apparently killing her. He then settled at the bottom of the pool, keeping her in his mouth. She apparently remained there until the staff at SeaWorld managed to beach him as they moved him to a separate pen. No one at SeaWorld was available to confirm reports that Brancheau's body was badly mangled. (See a 2006 story about a killer-whale attack in San Diego.)

Killer-whale trainer fatalities tend to be drownings: the human is pushed down and kept underwater. In such situations, experienced trainers know to try calming the whale with signals even as they try to control their own panic. But the violence and abrupt nature of the attack on Brancheau has stunned many in the profession. She was one of the best and most experienced in the field, featured in many of SeaWorld's promotions and advertisements. (See a TIME photo-essay on sharks.)

Whales like Tillikum that have gotten violent are likely to be separated from the rest of the performing troupe, kept in isolation and trained only by the most senior of staff. But the policy is generally not to destroy such animals — a policy that most trainers agree with. "I would not put any animal down," says Shawna Karrasch, who now trains horses but once worked with killer whales at SeaWorld San Diego. "People are killed riding horses but that doesn't stop us from getting back on them." She says that the trainers know the dangers they face when they enter the water, fully aware that killer whales are dangerous animals. Trainers point out that entertainments like those at SeaWorld are minutely choreographed, primed with long-practiced signals and rehearsed with great care, with constant attention to the whale's psychology before and after the performances. The interaction between trainer and whale is key — with the onus on the human to notice how cooperative the animal is being. The word constantly heard is "love" — that the trainers love the whales. And they will bet their lives on them
 

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Sounds awful!! Its like something you see in a movie. But its only a matter of time before this thing happens, They have the name killer whales for a reason.
 

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Thanks for the addition James.

That does sound pretty bad. I read in the local paper that when they got Tillikum he was never meant to be in the shows, just be a part of the breeding program. Also, they said that he was NOT born in captivity, he was taken from the wild when he was a younger animal. Proof that you can take an animal out of the wild, but you can't take the wild out of the animal.
 

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Oh wow...a wild "animal" kept in captivity had the extreme audacity to actually attack someone...Woulda thunk it. :whatever:

Please, know that I am not making light of her death, I am mocking the stupidity of those that choose to think these kinds of situations won't occur when interacting with a wild animal.
 

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Agreed Luscious D!!
You take a magnificent animal, contain, restrain and tease for food and make it do humiliating things for a morsel....hmmm, Bad things will happen.
To think that they are considering destroying him for acting like a KILLER whale.......they should be destroyed, sorry folks just not happy about this.

CJ

Duchess wrote:
Oh wow...a wild "animal" kept in captivity had the extreme audacity to actually attack someone...Woulda thunk it. :whatever:

Please, know that I am not making light of her death, I am mocking the stupidity of those that choose to think these kinds of situations won't occur when interacting with a wild animal.
 

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Seattle wrote:
Agreed Luscious D!!
You take a magnificent animal, contain, restrain and tease for food and make it do humiliating things for a morsel....hmmm, Bad things will happen.
To think that they are considering destroying him for acting like a KILLER whale.......they should be destroyed, sorry folks just not happy about this.

CJ
I agree with that!! It has the name killer whale for a reason, sure its sad to hear about this but what can they expect?? Its a WILD animal!!

One more thing, how do you even destroy a whale? Nuke?? :%
 
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