Update: Naturally social orcas may exhibit neurotic behavior when held captive

Legal News for Florida Personal Injury Attorneys. Death of Sea World Orlando trainer prompts review of safety procedures.

Florida personal injury attorney alerts- OSHA investigates accident in which Sea World Orlando killer whale was linked to third human death.

West Palm Beach, FL (News)—With the recent and tragic death of a seasoned Sea World Orca trainer in the public eye, experts note that these killer whales can exhibit neurotic behavior when confined to a tank. Tilikum, the killer whale linked to this particular fatality as well as two others since 1991, weighs approximately 12,000 pounds, leaving him nearly twice the size of the second-largest Orca whale at Sea World Orlando, according to information provided by the Palm Beach Post, CNN and previous coverage by Justice News Flash.

Authorities from the Orange County Sheriff’s office allegedly reported 40-year-old Dawn Brancheau suffered “multiple traumatic injuries and drowning” after Tilikum pulled her into the water by her ponytail, apparently depriving the trainer of air as the Orca circled the tank for some time. Though Sea World has rules in place that restrict animal trainers from swimming with Tilikum, trainers are permitted to work with him from shallow ledges on the sides of the tanks and may even lie down next to the captive Orcas from these ledges.

According to Jim Borrowman, who operates Stubbs Island Whale Watching in Vancouver Island, British Columbia and has been working with the marine mammals for 30 years; the act of holding whales captive to swim in circles around a tank as opposed to in their natural habitat in the ocean, where their families are located, seemingly “takes a toll on their brains”, causing them to display such neurotic conduct upon experiencing such stress.

Independent whale biologist Kim Parsons reportedly suggested killer whales linked to human deaths may have been “taking advantage of the opportunity to interact with novel stimuli in a habitat that is otherwise fairly mundane”. According to witness accounts from the show before Brancheau’s death, the killer whales were seemingly misbehaving and ignoring instructions administered by the trainers. In response to such allegations, Dr. Jeffrey Ventre reportedly stated, “It’s probably reasonable to suspect that something going on amongst the whales themselves may have triggered the frustration”, though it is impossible to be completely sure.

Sea World and other marine park officials are reported in the process of reviewing safety measures in place at the park while the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) http://www.osha.gov and Orange County Sheriff’s Office continue to investigate the incident.

Legal News Reporter: Sandra Quinlan- Legal News for Florida Personal Injury Lawyers.

About the Author sandraquinlan