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posted this on December 15, 2013, 23:41
Watch Blackfish Online First time a movie-maker has taken up the cause of orcas held in captivity. There was the relatively measured Jaws derivative, Orca, in 1977, and the blithely anthropomorphic Free Willy series. This, however, is the real thing, a poignant profile of a creature which is not built to live happily ever after as a circus animal, no matter how cosy the relationship between orca and trainer may look to SeaWorld's holiday crowds.
Former trainers tell of eventually coming to hate the job. They talk, too, about an earlier death in one of the park's pools and discuss the many near misses, one of which was filmed by the park's underwater cameras in startling detail. As we watch, a burly trainer is dragged by his foot to the bottom of the pool, where an orca toys with him for several minutes before he is able to swim up again. Then, just as he is getting his breath back, he is grabbed and dragged down once more. After struggling to the surface a second time, he finally reaches safety. Even so, he still maintains enough sangfroid to stroke the animal's back before making a dash for the side of the pool. Only when he's out can you see how much he's shaking.
But Tilikum – 6.9 metres long and the biggest whale in captivity – is the creature that most fascinates Cowperthwaite. At the age of two he was taken from his pod in Icelandic waters and shipped to Vancouver Island on Canada's Pacific coast to be installed at Sealand. But the park soon came to regret its purchase. Tilikum had not been there long when he killed one of his trainers and the park was forced to close down. The orca was then bought by SeaWorld and shipped across the country to Orlando. And despite the trainer's death, he began performing there with a new group of handlers. But the transition was far from trouble-free. Some of the other whales began attacking him, leaving ugly rake marks along his side. And later came another death.
I Love Rock 'n' Roll" for use as "walk-in music" as part of the "Shamu Rocks" evening show in Orlando, the song has since been pulled, SeaWorld told the AP in an e-mail. "A new nighttime Shamu show is being designed for SeaWorld Orlando and we had no plans to use any of her music in that show," spokesman Nick Gollattscheck wrote.
Heart wrote Sunday on Facebook that they had "chosen to decline their forthcoming performance at SeaWorld . . . due to the controversial documentary film Blackfish." Nelson and Barenaked Ladies canceled performances at the urging of Change.org petitions. "This is a complicated issue, and we don't claim to understand all of it, but we don't feel comfortable proceeding with the gig at this time," Barenaked Ladies said in a statement.
Blackfish examines what may have prompted a 6-ton orca named Tilikum to kill a SeaWorld trainer in 2010. The trainer, Dawn Brancheau, died when the killer whale pulled her into a pool. Tilikum was also involved in two other deaths. The documentary explores also other incidences of captive orcas acting aggressive toward humans and other killer whales.SeaWorld expressed disappointment that "a small group of misinformed individuals" could persuade the performers to cancel.
"The bands and artists have a standing invitation to visit any of our parks to see firsthand or to speak to any of our animal experts to learn for themselves how we care for animals and how little truth there is to the allegations made by animal extremist groups opposed to the zoological display of marine mammals," Gollattscheck, the company's spokesman, said.