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SeaWorld San Diego cancels Shamu show for second day in row

SeaWorld San Diego canceled its Shamu show Thursday for the second consecutive day after a trainer at its sister theme park in Florida was fatally attacked by a killer whale.

San Diego park officials had not yet determined whether Friday's show would be canceled. But the park has worked to improve safety after several incidents over the last three decades in which trainers were injured, officials said.

In 1971, an employee suffered puncture wounds when a killer whale tossed her, according to Times reports. The most recent San Diego attack occurred in 2006 when a 33-year-old trainer was hospitalized after a killer whale dragged him to the bottom of the Shamu pool during a show.

That incident was eerily similar to the Wednesday attack at SeaWorld in Orlando, when a killer whale thrashed trainer Dawn Brancheau around underwater as dozens of horrified tourists watched. Brancheau, 40, was finishing a session with Tilikum, a 12,000-pound killer whale, after a midday show when it grabbed her by the upper arm, disappeared underwater with her and swam to the other side of tank, flailing her around.

"We're terribly saddened by the loss of the member of our SeaWorld family, it doesn't matter what park," SeaWorld San Diego spokesman David Koontz said Wednesday.

-- Amina Khan

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Comments () | Archives (21)

It would be nice if they canceled it forever.

It is time for a nationwide boycott of marine parks. Orcas and dolphins were not meant to be kept in huge swimming pools for the general public's amusement. Orcas and their brethren were meant to roam the oceans, not to do stupid pet tricks.

Tilikum is a murderer and I wonder whether he/she deserves the death penalty. On the other hand, he/she may just have wanted to be free. Or maybe he/she is just into killing humans for some nutty reason. Maybe there's a reason why they are called killer whales...

Sea World is at fault in this incident. In the previous killer whale incident at San Diego Sea World several years ago, there was a person with a long pole for persons in the water to grab onto and people with SCUBA equipment to go into the water to assist. The woman was saved with minor injuries. In this case there was no one to assist the woman who was grabbed by the Killer Whale. This is a "KILLER" whale that is not tame, domesticated, or a pet, even though the shows portrait them as such. There needs to be someone with a rifle/shotgun ready to assist anyone grabbed by a killer whale in a show, and others ready to go into the water to assist anytime a person is working with these animals. Sea World portrays the whales as "research" animals, but the real motive is money. Hopefully they have learned their lesson about having dangerous animals interact with people.

That whale needs therapy.

I think the whales are trying to tell us something...THEY SHOULD NOT BE HELD IN CAPTIVITY. IT IS NOT NATURAL!!!!

That's what haapens when you mess around with large animals. Too bad.

The feeding frenzy of the animal rights activist over the tragedy that befell the Sea World trainer is as inaccurate as it is unseemly and self-serving. Sea World's neonate survival rates which are much higher than in the wild and the steadily rising longevity rates of the Sea World whale (objective measures of animal welfare) belie the claim that these animals do not do well in human care. The opposite it true.

As a former vocal critic of the bad old times of Sea World husbandry in the 70's and 80's, I can say that their current whale program is a model of animal care and welfare. You really can't do it much better than they have done over the last 20 years in terms of animal welfare and animal husbandry.

Animal activist love to attribute any injury or aggressive act by a captive animal as a direct result their presence captivity.

As any professional animal trainer will tell you, and I am one of those as well as one who worked 12 years with orcas, working closely with large animals, wild or domestic, is dangerous. People who train animals do it in part because the love being close to animals. They know and accept the risks. Horses have killed a lot of people. . . many, many more than orcas. Hippos have killed many many more people during chance encounters in the wild than they have in captivity. Does captivity somehow make the hippos safer and happier?

I am sure the Sea World people will be doing a major review of how they will handle Tilikum in the future. The review, I am sure, will be both specific to this animal and general in terms changes in their methods overall to deal with what was learned from this incident. My heart goes out to Dawn's family and co-workers.

While they are entitled to a point of view which is in profound disagreement with the vast majority of the public which supports putting on animals on display for the purposes of conservation. Their self-serving ranting at this time points to a severe disconnect between telling the truth and pursuing their political and philosophical agenda

It's obvious to even the least knowledgeable about aquatic animals - THEY ARE WILD. No matter how long you expose them to human contact and training (aka taming). This is large beast of an animal which more than likely should be observed and marveled at from a distance as opposed to having actual contact. Thus the name KILLER WHALE. Even the docile Dolphin has been known to pull divers to depths that are almost unsurvivable. Why should this whale be expected to do anything different? And besides, according to other news accountS - the whale has a "rap sheet" so to speak. He has killed before!

This is truly a sad story on many counts. One: If the managment of the oceans continues as is (in other words, little to nothing) marine parks will be the only place to see Orcas and dolphins. Two: These trainers who give their lives for something they love really do try to take good care of these animals. My condolences to the families, fellow trainiers and friends. Three: I caught the San Diego show a year ago and was just floored. It was the best show I had ever seen. It made Universal's Water World look like the bad movie it was. (The Water World attraction is a good show but pales in comparison to Shamu.)

BOYCOTT SEA WORLD and let's end the exploitation of sea animals for the almighty $$$!

he was only playing, how is he supposed to know she cant breathe! these mammals are beautiful and should not be kept in an aquarium. they need to swim, breed and socialize. it is nobody's fault, accidents happen. and no he should not be put to death.

Whales are intelligent mammals; can they be blamed for their frustration at humans who keep them captive and laboring away for food they can enjoy catching in the wild? To blame captive whales for killing humans is similar to blame lions for devouring humans in the savanna. Think about it!

Killer whales are capable of thinking and planning. I heard from a biologist that two killer whales once planned to hurt or kill one of their trainers. The two whales practiced days before their show. The trainers did not understand why the whales were jumping on top of one another until the day of the show came and they squished and killed their trainer. So, killer whales are capable of premeditated murder.

This incident reminds me of the movie, "King Kong." From what I've read, the whale's nature is not to attack humans although it has been involved in two prior death-related incidents. It seems that the whale was attracted to the trainer's ponytail and she displayed "affection" for him. I wonder if he was being playful. Her death is very tragic as she loved marine life.

Tim Desmond, as long as trainers know the risks it's not a big deal to me. I just know it's going to happen again and I will not feel sympathy for the "victim." And I hope the victim's survivors don't sue.

good thing they are preventing possible incidents similar to the one in SeaWorld Orlando.

Well it isn't afraid of people and it apparently killed a person in Europe as well as three in this country. If they release it and it kills some surfers is Sea World Liable? That may be why they don't release it. I am surprised it isn't put to sleep. Guess they don't have a three strikes and you're out law for whales. Just humans.

Why should we settle for "Sea World" when we can experience the real thing?Let's enjoy nature in nature, let's enjoy free whales in their natural environment. On many days on the beaches of Southern California, Whales, Dolphins, Seals, Sea lions, and other wild life may be observed, walking on the beach is good for us, and, if we live in SoCal, very inexpensive. There are whale watching trips, sunset sailing trips, and kayak rentals. We also have great mountain and wilderness areas. If we want an educational experience why not a place like the "Natural History Museum" in S.B. or The Monterey Bay Aquarium? There are many responsible Sea Centers and Nature education programs at State Parks and Cities through out California.

Of course they're going to close for a few days...With the Killer Whales eating all the trainers, what are they supposed to do...

Maybe they should wear shark suits...I love that show...Especially when they splash you, very cute....

Tilikum is NOT at fault. This whale was born free and captured. He was not born in a aquarium so its not the only life he has ever known. He knows what it was like to be free. He had a history of attacking trainers, the first one should have been enough. Keiko was freed, Tilikum can be freed.


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