One of SeaWorld’s most well known Killer Whales, Tilikum, has died. Surrounded by trainers, veterinarians, and animal care staff who had been providing him with around the clock care, Tilikum passed away early this morning, on January 6, 2016.
Tilikum was estimated to be about 36 years old, which, interestingly, is older than other male orcas live to in the region he originated from, according to independent studies. Tilikum had been battling a tricky bacterial lung infection, and it is assumed that this is what caused his death. (Please note that the bacteria are found both in zoological facilities and in the ocean).
For over twenty years, Tilikum has been inspiring guests who visit SeaWorld to have a better appreciation for the ocean and its inhabitants. He truly was the orca at SeaWorld who showed off the power and beauty of his species more than any other orca at the park. He has helped to inspire millions of people, and now, after living a long, full life, he has passed away, and we will all miss him very much.
Today is a hard day for the people who have dedicated their lives to caring for Tilikum and the other amazing animals at SeaWorld, so today I want to say a special thank you to all of those who work everyday caring for incredible animals and inspiring visitors at the SeaWorld parks.
To remember Tilikum, I’ve created a photo gallery featuring Tilikum showing off his beauty and inspiring guests. Click here to view it.