This breaks our heart!
SeaWorld has announced one of the park’s most popular killer whales is close to death.
On Tuesday, representatives from the marine park say Tilikum — the whale who was the subject of CNN‘s documentary Blackfish — has a bad bacterial infection.
Over the past few weeks, the Orca has become “resistant to treatment” for a possible infection in his lungs, and has exhibited increasingly “lethargic” behavior.
The park issued the following statement about Tilikum’s health:
“We are saddened to report that over the past few weeks, Tilikum’s behavior has become increasingly lethargic, and the SeaWorld veterinary and animal care teams are concerned that his health is beginning to deteriorate. The suspected bacteria is very resistant to treatment and a cure for his illness has not been found.”
The roughly 35-year-old animal has lived at SeaWorld for 23 years, captured from his wild family when he was just two years old.
During his captivity, the whale has been involved in at least three human deaths — including the 2010 death of park trainer Dawn Brancheau, who one day was pulled into the water by Tilikum and aggressively played with until she died.
After Dawn’s death, Tilikum was isolated from the rest of the whales, but kept at the center of SeaWorld’s artificial insemination program — he’s fathered 21 of the park’s calves, only half of which are still alive today.
Though it sounds like the orca won’t make it, some have not given up hope.
Check out the video (below) to hear SeaWorld’s medical experts discuss Tilikum’s treatment:
[Image via Sea World.]