It’s no wonder SeaWorld would prefer the public to forget about the death of Dawn Brancheau in 2010.

However, the documentary “Blackfish” does not hide much of that information. The media discovered that management at SeaWorld was mistreating their employees and animals soon after Brancheau’s death—and it is a good thing the media discovered this.

Brancheau was an experienced trainer attacked by a killer whale named Tilikum at the Orlando, Florida theme park. The incident occurred right in front of bystanders watching the performance, but SeaWorld insisted the attack was because of Brancheau’s ponytail that “should’ve been in a bun.”

For many, SeaWorld is known to be one of the happiest places on Earth where imagination blends with nature. Their commercials make it nearly impossible to not want to experience such a majestic looking place.

SeaWorld sucks the viewer in with the beautiful whales and dolphins jumping through water and penguins wobbling around. It’s a place where families can enjoy watching and connecting with animals that are rarely seen elsewhere.

When Orlando SeaWorld opened  in 1973, it was seen as the biggest and best marine mammal park to attend as well as to work at. The animal trainers never had a reason to believe they were doing anything besides giving these animals the best life possible, while doing what they loved  the most.

There are a small amount of trainers of this kind, and SeaWorld is another monopoly in the world. If trainers want this job, they must do as SeaWorld wants them to do, as well as think the way SeaWorld wants them to think. SeaWorld officials kept Tilikum’s history of past attacks from the trainers he worked with daily. As much as the killer whale seemed to love working with his trainers, no one seemed to take into consideration everything he’s been through from the age of four.

He was captured as a juvenile, taken from his mother soon after, moved to Sealand where he was brutally attacked by other Orca whales and after killing another trainer, he was brought to SeaWorld.

The worst part of Tilikum’s saga is that everyone involved, whether it was the diver who caught him in the first place or the trainers who dealt with him, never realized what they were doing to these innocent animals was wrong. In the end, the trauma he’s been through resulted in violence and SeaWorld is left to blame.


Jordan Crowley can be contacted at

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