Tilikum, the killer whale that drowned his trainer in February 2010, has returned to public performances today.
Since the death of Dawn Brancheau last year Tilikum has been at the center of controversy, with many animal welfare groups asking for his release back to the ocean and highlighting the misery that living in captivity brings to an animal like the whale. Instead of having his freedom, Tilikum was instead confined to a small pool away from the companionship of the other whales.
The Animal Training Curator at SeaWorld, Kelly Flaherty Clark, says that they feel it’s an important part of Tilikum’s physical, social and mental enrichment to be back in the water.
Despite citations and financial penalties from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Orlando park is still working on plans to get the trainers back into the water with the whales.
Photo credit: cc: flickr.com/photos/tomwright1964