he is two years old. or almost.
he is with his pod.
in the wild the blackfish also known as
the killer whale
he is captured.
forever estranged from his family pod.
he is taken to a place.
and then another place.
and then eventually to
the corporation giant . . .
to live out his life in captivity.
no longer the natural cold icelandic waters he loves.
his life is a series of pools now . . .
forever too small for him.
no longer mountains in the background.
floes of ice.
travelling in the open seas with his beloved family.
he kills a human.
his kind is not normally aggressive to humans.
there has not been A SINGLE incident of an orca
killing a human being in the wild.
he is frightened. he is frustrated. he is highly intelligent.
he is trained.
he is rewarded by a trainer dropping little fish into his huge mouth.
he does silly circus tricks in front of crowds of people.
a man stays late. wanders into the pool.
that’s his name now. tilikum.
he’s an orca.
his teeth are manually drilled down and are all but nubs.
he is milked for his sperm on a regular basis.
so that other orcas can be inseminated.
to raise in the small pools.
to do more circus tricks.
for the people who pay money
to see those tricks.
under the hot florida sun.
and his life is circling and circling in a small pool.
and splashing water on humans when commanded to do so.
the humans all squeal and laugh and are drenched.
he’s fed a little fish.
he has bonded with his trainer. dawn.
only he knows of the sheer anger and futility of his life . . .
the little pool.
the mind numbing tricks.
the hot sun.
one day he kills dawn.
the dawn he seemed to really love.
his life changes once again.
on feburary 24, 2010
he kills his dawn.
his life is one of loneliness.
unbelievable loneliness for a species that is never alone.
one who migrates together.
his life now is in solitary confinement.
in this pool.
that is too small.
he was taken from his home in the icelandice waters.
when he was only two years old.
there is only that memory.
there is no shade for him.
no respite from the never ending heat of the florida sun.
he has no toys.
no other whales for company. he is always completely alone.
he is in a prison. solitary confinement.
he spends hours at a time
his dorsal fin limp to the side.
a known sign of stress.
and possible dehydration due to warmer waters.
and also age.
he is quite simply
once a day now he is asked to perform.
but none of the old tricks.
he is asked to splash the crowd and then splay himself up on the edge.
then he returns to his prison.
he returns to his little solitary pool.
he looks through the gate to the other whales.
he watches them it’s said.
can you see him?
can you see tilikum?
this post is not about pretty little rooms.
about interior design and lack of knick knacks.
about fun or other pretty stuff.
there’s something very ugly about all this.
not only ugly.
they took four young orcas to spain.
another place in the ever tentacled world
of the giant corporation all about money
they deny the connection. but it was proven true.
the aquarium was not even ready for them.
they were crowded into a pool.
they began to grow sick.
a long black tube was being crammed down one of their throats.
into the stomach.
the young orca was held down.
it began to thrash about.
it sounded its call.
and then it literally screamed.
last night i watched them do that to that young orca.
i heard a scream.
i can still hear that scream. i know now that i will hear it always.
one just like tilikum.
a magnificent fellow creature on our planet
that we know for a fact is highly intelligent and knows pain.
and frustration enough to kill a beloved trainer.
it was the 2013 documentary that i watched.
should see this film.
find it and watch it.
and act upon it.
tell anyone and everyone you know about it.
i sat in awe
i could not sleep last night.
what are we doing?
what are we doing with our silence?
in knowing we can make a difference.
for once we know . . . we can never un~know.
i went to a sea world in san antonio texas years ago.
i paid money.
i was splashed.
by an orca.
at what cost