Blackfish Trailer. Gabriela Cowperthwaite‘s Blackfish (2013) movie trailer features orca Tilikum and was written by Gabriela Cowperthwaite and Eli B. Despres. Blackfish‘s plot synopsis: “Notorious killer whale Tilikum is responsible for the deaths of three individuals, including a top killer whale trainer. Blackfish shows the sometimes devastating consequences of keeping such intelligent and sentient creatures in captivity.”
Tilikum (born c. 1981), sometimes misspelled Tillikum, is a bull orca who lives in captivity at SeaWorld Orlando, Florida, in the United States, and formerly Sealand of the Pacific in South Oak Bay at the The Oak Bay Marina, near the city of Victoria, in British Columbia, Canada. He has sired many offspring, and has been involved in the deaths of three people. Following a yearlong hiatus after his last incident, Tilikum returned to performing at SeaWorld Orlando on March 30, 2011. In the Chinook Jargon of the Northwest, the name means “friends, relations, tribe, nation, common people.”
On Tilikum’s first death:
On February 21, 1991, a trainer named Keltie Byrne slipped into the tank of the three whales. Sealand of the Pacific did not do “water work” (having trainers in the water with the whales), thus the orcas had never had a trainer in the pool with them before. Although Tilikum was not the orca who initially touched Byrne, he, orca Haida II and Nootka IV tossed her to each other’s mouths. The trainer subsequently drowned. Both females were pregnant at the time, which was not known to the trainers.
On Tilikum’s second death:
On July 6, 1999, a 27-year-old man named Daniel P. Dukes was found dead and nude, draped over Tilikum’s back. Dukes had visited SeaWorld the previous day, stayed after the park closed, and evaded security to enter the orca tank. An autopsy of the body found multiple wounds, contusions, and abrasions, and concluded he died from hypothermia and drowning.
On Tilikum’s third death:
On February 24, 2010, Tilikum was involved in a third incident when he killed Dawn Brancheau, a 40-year-old female trainer.The trainer was drowned after a “Dine with Shamu” show. At least a dozen patrons witnessed Dawn in the water with Tilikum; however, it is unclear how many patrons witnessed enough of the incident to understand at the time that it was out of the ordinary. Employees used nets and threw food at Tilikum in an attempt to distract him.
Moving from pool to pool in the complex, they eventually directed Tilikum to a smaller, medical pool, where it would be easier to calm him. He subsequently released Brancheau’s body. A SeaWorld executive, witnesses and video footage from right before the attack confirm that Dawn was lying with her face next to Tilikum’s on a slide-out (a platform submerged about a foot into water). SeaWorld said the trainer was pulled into the water by her ponytail and that it may have got caught in Tilikum’s teeth, it may have also been confused for a toy, or confused for a fish, because she was holding a fish and may have touched her hair afterwards, leaving the scent. However, some witnesses to the incident claimed that the trainer was pulled into the water by her arm. Brancheau’s autopsy indicated death by drowning and blunt force trauma. The autopsy noted that her spinal cord was severed and she sustained fractures to her jawbone, ribs and a cervical vertebra.
Watch the Blackfish movie trailer and leave your thoughts on it in the comments section below. For more Blackfish photos, videos, and information, visit our Blackfish Page, subscribe to us by Email, “follow” us on Twitter, Tumblr, or “like” on Facebook. Blackfish will be released in US theaters through Magnolia Pictures and CNN Films on July 19, 2013.