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February 24th, 2010
06:27 PM ET
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Kenny

    I appreciate the quality of the coverage on the tragic event of the killer whale drowning it's trainer. But – Randi – Get Off the multi-killer aspect of the orca. Experts, professionals and co-workers all expressed that sure, this was terrible, but after the whole day of all the whales acting very unusually, the management should have pulled the plug on all the performances. If it had been just this male who had been acting off, then I -might- see your point but that was just not the case. Stop the over-sensationalized connection (like a dog who bites) that every subject matter expert you put on the screen disagreed with you on.

    February 25, 2010 at 9:51 am |
  2. Amber Dean Lopez

    It was so very sad that it happened, but we should not forget that having the kind of job that these wildlife trainers like Miss Brancheau had, risk is at the very topmost of considerations. My prayers goes for her and my sympathies to her family.

    February 25, 2010 at 6:08 am |
  3. sam lewis

    to many times people get caught up in a superiority complex, where they feel that just because they have the ability to train a certain type of animal, that they know this animal as if it were a human being. we tend to forget that no matter how trained an animal is, that it is still an animal first. and we lose sight of the fact of what that animal is capable of doing once it decides to follow its animal instincts. you can break an animals spirit, but you cannot break an animals instinct. and when that animal decides that its time to act like it is supposed to there is nothing no amount of training can do to stop it, whether if it wants to play, or attack.

    February 25, 2010 at 4:40 am |
  4. Elena

    What I don't understand is why the whale is not with the others whales? I mean, what do they expect? He (or she) is a wild animal, and probably doesn't have conscience of what he did.

    February 25, 2010 at 4:38 am |
  5. Scott Fernandez

    Even with Sea Worlds 40+ years of experience with Orcas, I still don't think it wise to jump in a pool with an apex predator. These animals are smart, smart enough to be able to beach themselves to hunt prey, smart enough to teach their young how to hunt in the wild by literally playing with their food. These animals kill great white sharks for their livers! Not the whole shark, just one organ. Tell me you want to swim with one?

    February 25, 2010 at 1:39 am |
  6. darrell

    The whale has been confined for how much of his life? Knowing all along the world is supposed to be his to see. This is wild life we are talking about isn't it?

    February 25, 2010 at 1:15 am |
  7. Allen in NYC

    I find the coverage of this incident amazing. People are asking what should be done with the whale? How can we assure this doesn't happen again? How about these antiquated parks finally become a thing of the past. The fact that in today's society with our current "enlightenment" we still capture wild animals, rip them from their natural life and families and imprison them for a lifetime of slavery all so we can be amused is monumentally disturbing. The fact that people bring their children to these events and teach yet another generation that it's right to dominate "lesser" beings for our own entertainment is a disappointing comment on current society.

    I'm a big fan of CNN but have to say I'm disappointed at the people they booked to comment on this issue. Most of them are in the business of animal captivity and they make it seem like these incidents are rare. Jack Hannah and animal trainers are obviously going to have a different take on the situation considering it's their bread and butter.

    This may sound harsh, but the fault for these tragedies are the witnesses CNN has had commenting on it's various programs. It's the park visitors. They go to these parks without a thought, bring their children and by buying tickets support a multi-billion dollar industry that not only supports animal cruelty, but thrives on it.

    Let's keep them honest and dig deeper into this story and the bigger picture of animal captivity.

    CNN researchers, hit me up for web sites of interest that can help shed light on these parks.

    February 25, 2010 at 12:13 am |
  8. esha

    I think sea world is doing a great job with the whale.

    February 25, 2010 at 12:04 am |
  9. Michael Reed

    While I am saddened by the death of the trainer and send my condolences to her family and friends, we shouldn't be surprised by this. As with many zoo animals, these whales are essentially prisoners, forced to live in a tiny fraction of the space they would normally inhabit. In the wild, pods of Orcas may cover an area of up to 75 square miles each day. Highly intelligent and social animals, living in family pods that have high levels of interaction both within their own and with other pods, Orcas are of no danger to humans in their natural habitat.

    I have been fortunate enough to kayak in the beautiful San Juan Islands in the NW Puget Sound region of Washington, and had the amazing experience of being no more than 50 yards from these magnificent creatures. We were in no danger, and I am not aware of even one incident of a human being attacked in the wild.

    Imagine if any one of us were taken captive by an alien race, separated from family and friends, and forced to live in an area no bigger than a small apartment for the rest of our lives. No matter how well taken care of and provided for we might be, we would be prisoners–through no fault of our own–nonetheless. How much would we resent our captors?

    I am personally against the captivity of these and many other wild animals. But if we are going to continue this practice, we must not be surprised when they react accordingly.

    February 24, 2010 at 11:42 pm |
  10. Ashley

    From watching the reporter just a few minutes ago, comparing a Wild Killer Whale to a pitbull, I believe that is ludicris to think that you can treat those two the same. One thing is that the whale is a Wild Animal being used soely for public entertainment, where no matter how unpredictable its actions may be it should have been predicted. Another thing is that no matter how horrible someone getting hurt from this is, you can not treat the situation as if this whale is a pitbull since you can't just simply place a leash on this whale's neck and take complete control of it; as you can see it can completely inconpacitate you in seconds no matter how many times you try to "dominate" it.

    February 24, 2010 at 11:36 pm |
  11. M Spraker

    As an animal lover and an owner of a pit bull, I find it very hard to swallow this story. After being directly linked to 2 other deaths, it should have never been near anyone...because had this been a pit bull, it would have been put down after the FIRST "accident"!
    Any animal can react and regardless of why or how it happened, this whale should not have been able to take another person's life!! I would definitely like to see so called animal advocates, standing up to save the life of any animal that has hurt another....especially our beloved pit bulls, as they so frequently get a bad rap by public opinion!

    February 24, 2010 at 11:36 pm |
  12. Stephen

    After watching Jessica Yellin on AC360 reporting on the unfortunate death at Sea World, I am compelled to to comment. All people that work with animals, know and remember that they are working with a wild animal. They know that there is danger involved and possibly even death. I find it irresponsible of Jessica to try to claim that just because this wild animal took a human life is any less entitled to his life. Maybe if she left her little comfort zone and went to someplace like Africa, she would realize this. Wild animals are exactly that, wild.

    February 24, 2010 at 11:34 pm |
  13. jacqui mosher

    What a shame this had to happen. Is this what it has to take to make people see the reality of an animal held captive. As long as parents keep spending the money to take their children to watch these huge animals perform places like this will always have these poor animals held captive. this, in my opinion ,is no different than the elephants at a circus that all of a sudden break away from the routine they are suppose to perform and go on a rampage. I try to do my part in not supporting any places that use wild animals to make money by not going to any of these places.

    February 24, 2010 at 11:33 pm |
  14. Christine

    Let's keep in mind, Tilly is a "Wild" animal. Dawn was a professional trainer of "wild animals". Trainers know the risks involved with these animals. Pit Bulls on the other hand, are DOMESTIC animals. You can not compare the two. People love to watch the whales because they are just that...."Wild". It is amazing that they have been trained at all.

    February 24, 2010 at 11:27 pm |
  15. Julia

    What a tragedy at Sea World today. A trainer lost her life, and that is truely horrible. Do you want to know what is a bigger tragedy? Keeping a highly intelligent, beautiful mammal from the sea and locking it away in a fish tank. Killerwhales by nature are at the top of the food chain, and by instinct hunt and stalk their prey. Suprised that he snapped? Hmmmm...
    These majestic animals should be treated like the natural treasure that they are, instead of being trained to entertain people in a small confined "cage" What a travisty. Sea World makes millions of dollars off the cruelty and confinement of these animals.
    You may want to get educated about Sea World and other marine parks by watching the documentary "The Cove" by Rick O'Barry

    February 24, 2010 at 11:26 pm |
  16. Don

    Whale should belong in the ocean and not in a tank to be a clown to please humans

    February 24, 2010 at 11:14 pm |
  17. Annie Kate

    This is terrible. I read one article that indicates that this wasn't the first time this particular whale had killed a trainer. This whale ought to go back to the wild – captivity is not the place for him.

    February 24, 2010 at 10:31 pm |
  18. John DeMoss

    Whales of any kind should never NEVER be confined. It's cruelty of the crassest kind. The man who commented on the trainer's "work" and on his own"work" should have been asked exactly what their work is. He tried to make it sound like they're doing some kind of scientific work to benefit humanity. What they're doing is exploiting the animals for "entertainment" to make money. He slipped when he let it out that the whale who killed the woman is a "money stream."

    February 24, 2010 at 10:23 pm |
  19. Fari Ghafoori

    I just listened to the question about whether the way should be euthanized. A whale isn't a dog. Dogs are domesticated. Orca's are predators. You obviously don't have a clue about animals. You might want to investigate more before making ridiculous comments.

    February 24, 2010 at 10:21 pm |
  20. Jackie McCormack

    So very sad to hear of thiswoman's death. So very sad to hear that these beautiful creatures are being held in captivity for someone to make money. This is what greed and animal cruelty amounts too. These maganificent creatures belong in the ocean, not a fish bowl.

    February 24, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
  21. Barb from Canada

    Can't believe that they are still planning to keep that whale...and why?
    because it comes down to "dollars and cents| he is worth millions as a breeding whale..
    How disgusting....what is a human's life worth????

    What is wrong with those people???

    February 24, 2010 at 10:07 pm |