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 Killer Whale Kills Trainer as Horrified Spectators Watch

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PostSubject: Killer Whale Kills Trainer as Horrified Spectators Watch   Thu Feb 25, 2010 1:16 am

ORLANDO, Fla. – A killer whale attacked and killed a trainer in front
of a horrified audience Wednesday at a SeaWorld show, with at least one
witness saying the animal leaped from the water, dragged her under and
thrashed her around violently.

Distraught audience members were hustled out of the stadium, and the park was immediately closed.

The 40-year-old veteran trainer was one of the park's most experienced. It was not clear exactly how she died.

An audience member said a show was just starting when the whale
"took off really fast in the tank, and then he came back, shot up in
the air, grabbed the trainer by the waist and started thrashing around,
and one of her shoes flew off," Victoria Biniak told WKMG-TV.

But Jim Solomons of the Orlando County Sheriff's Office, said the
trainer slipped or fell into the whale's tank, which seemed to
contradict Biniak's description.
Authorities provided few immediate details, but two witnesses told the
Orlando Sentinel that one of the park's whales grabbed the woman by the
upper arm and tossed her around in its mouth while swimming rapidly
around the tank.

Brazilian tourist Joao Lucio DeCosta Sobrinho and his girlfriend
were at an underwater viewing area when they suddenly saw a whale with
someone in its mouth.

The couple said they watched the whale show at the park two days
earlier and came back to take pictures. But on Wednesday the whales
appeared agitated before the incident occurred.

"It was terrible. It's very difficult to see the image," Sobrinho said.
The trainer was identified as Dawn Brancheau, according to a law
enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he had
not been cleared to officially release her name.

According to a profile of Brancheau in the Orlando Sentinel in
2006, she was one of SeaWorld Orlando's leading trainers. It was
apparently a trip to SeaWorld at 9 years old that made her want to
pursue this career.
"I remember walking down the aisle (of Shamu Stadium) and telling my
mom, 'This is what I want to do,'" she said in the article.

Brancheau worked her way into a leadership role at Shamu Stadium
during her 12-year career with SeaWorld, starting at the Sea Lion &
Otter Stadium before spending the past 10 years working with killer
whales, the newspaper said.

She also addressed the dangers of the job.

"You can't put yourself in the water unless you trust them and they trust you," Brancheau said.

Steve McCulloch, founder and program manager at the Marine Mammal
Research and Conservation Program at Harbor Branch/Florida Atlantic
University, said the whale may have been playing, but it is too early
to tell.
"It could be play behavior. I wouldn't jump to conclusions," he said.
"These are very large powerful marine mammals. They exhibit this type
of behavior in the wild."

"Nobody cares more about the animal than the trainer. It's just hard to fathom that this has happened."

Mike Wald, a spokesman for the Occupational Safety and Health
Administration office in Atlanta, said his agency had dispatched an
investigator from Tampa.

Wednesday's death was not the first attack on whale trainers at SeaWorld parks.

In November 2006, a trainer was bitten and held underwater several
times by a killer whale during a show at SeaWorld's San Diego park.
The trainer, Kenneth Peters, escaped with a broken foot. The 17-foot
orca that attacked him was the dominant female of SeaWorld San Diego's
seven killer whales. She had attacked Peters two other times, in 1993
and 1999.
In 2004, another whale at the company's San Antonio park tried to hit
one of the trainers and attempted to bite him. He also escaped.

In December, a whale drowned a trainer at a Spanish zoo.

At the Orlando SeaWorld, the body of a naked man was found draped over
a 5-ton orca named Tilikum in July 1999. He was scratched and bruised.
Daniel Dukes reportedly made his way past security at SeaWorld and
remained in the park after it had closed. Wearing only his underwear,
Dukes either jumped, fell or was pulled into the frigid water of
Tilikum's huge tank.
An autopsy ruled that he died of hypothermia in the 50-degree water.
But they also said it appeared Tilikum bit the man and tore off his
swimming trunks, likely believing he was a toy to play with.

Dukes' parents filed a lawsuit against the park later that year but ended up withdrawing it.
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PostSubject: Re: Killer Whale Kills Trainer as Horrified Spectators Watch   Thu Feb 25, 2010 5:00 am

Sorry I have no sympathy.......

back in 1995 while in Florida, I decided then that it was an "animals for profit" show and wouldn't go to see it. I know the care these creatures receive is fantastic but at the end of the day they are wild animals and should be in the wild. If you want to see them then go and see them in their own natural habitat, not jumping through hoops at an overgrown fish tank!

Thanks to .tUrniP for the sig
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PostSubject: Re: Killer Whale Kills Trainer as Horrified Spectators Watch   Thu Feb 25, 2010 1:11 pm

Orca, aka killer whale. The hints to its nature is in it's name. Now here is the contradiction, some in captivity don't kill. This one has already had a habit of.

If you ever see an Orca, or pod of them attack seals or baby whales. Not a nice sight to watch the honest brutatlity of those attacks. In this case it did exactly the same to its trainer as it does to them. Kill to eat or kill to teach and hone its skill. As it did not eat her, it was honing it's kill and hunting skill. Perhaps a question should be asked was it's trainer on her period or had blood from a wound. This would be a catalyst to its behaviour.

If a crocodile snacks on humans or a shark, they are killed. Once any naimal has a taste for human blood that never leaves it. Hence why they destroy dogs who attack humans.

Now don't get me wrong I love Orca, always will, but they belong in the vast oceans. That is their playgound and it is big enough for it not to develop a taste for humans.

I wish I had studied oceanogrpahy and the science of sealife. I have alway had an infinity for the ocean, her moods, her creatures and her mysteries.
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