Tilikum is back!
The killer whale who lived up to its name by drowning a trainer last year at Sea World Orlando before a live audience has returned to the stage. Tilikum performed in the theme park’s “Believe” show this morning. (No lives lost!)
Understandably, trainers stayed outside of the pool while Tilikum was performing to the crowd in the 5,000-seat Shamu Stadium, according to the Associated Press. Just over a year ago, the whale drowned trainer Dawn Brancheau. The 40-year-old trainer was face-to-face with Tilikum, when the 6-ton mammal bit down on her ponytail and dragged her around the pool.
Sea World is fighting a $75,000 fine imposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which accused the company of recklessly putting trainers in danger. For now, trainers are staying out of the pools when the killer whales are doing the “Sham Slam” and other performances. But the parks are working on bringing humans and whales together again.
Meanwhile, people in Shamu Stadium are no doubt holding their breath — and cameras — just in case.