Since the release of Blackfish, a documentary which chronicled the troubled life of the orca Tilikum (above), in 2013, the percentage of Americans opposed to cetacean captivity has risen to 50% (up 11% from a 2012 poll).
The National Aquarium in Baltimore is now considering ending their practice of displaying dolphins and retiring their animals to a sea pen. The ‘Blackfish effect’ has changed so many lives, but what about its star, Tilikum?
After a year of costly PR campaigns, YouTube videos and commercials touting their exceptional animal care, Tilikum and the other orcas at SeaWorld’s parks haven’t seen any real improvement in their lives.
Broken family bonds have not been repaired and Tilikum, the 12,000 pound bull orca, is still floating like a cork in the dank pool that made him famous.
After a year of protests, reduced turnstile clicks and constant attacks on their social media platforms, SeaWorld still hasn’t gotten the message and Tilikum, the one being whose existence should have felt the biggest impact from the Blackfish effect, remains untouched by its message.
SeaWorld is never going to volunteer to do the right thing by Tilikum or any of their 28 other whales, it’s up to us to #emptythetanks.