Orcas: The Story of Tilikum

By: Tamari Campbell & Skye Rivera


In the documentary, Blackfish the director,Gabriel Cowperthwaite effectively convinced the audience that Orcas and wild animals in general, need to be kept in their wild habitats by using film-techniques such as stock footage, interviews, and logos.


Blackfish is the story of the performing killer whale, Tilikum that killed 3 people during captivity. Starting off the documentary the director is showing flashbacks of the recent death of the trainer, Dawn Brancheau. From that, the film goes into several interviews with experienced trainers. Sea World & Sea Land CEO's, and the people hunt down the orcas. With hearing about the shocking stories about the incidents that go untold makes the audience think about humanity ,and how we need to treat the orcas
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Stock Footage

Under water: While doing a performance at SeaWorld, trainer Ken Peters had been attacked by a whale while performing a stunt. The whale had dragged him under water by his foot and kept him there for about a minute and would bring him back up to the surface. Once he was brought up, the whale would grab onto his other foot, just to bring him back down again. Once he was brought up the final time, the whale had let go of his foot, long enough for him to escape and climb back onto the platform. This demonstrates that due to the whales being mistreated for many years by SeaWorld and Sea land of The Pacific, the aggression that followed along with it had led to the attacks on the trainers.
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Tilikum vs. His Own Kind: While being the new addition to SeaLand Tilikum had to learn all of the tricks. Since, this was Tilikum first time being in captivity he didn't catch on fast. So, when he do the trick(s) right the trainer would starve him and the other orca he was training with that had experience. After, that the trainer would put TIlikum and the other orca in a metal box that sat in the water that all the orcas were put in. This is where the problem began the other orca that Tilikum was training with use it's teeth it would rake Tilikum's body and leave marks.
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Crushed Between 2 Orcas: While performing routine stunt with a orca another comes from the water leaping into the air and right on top the trainer crushing him. The only thing that was holding him together was the wet suit and had to have many surgeries on his neck and body. After, this had happened SeaWorld had said it was a timing error on the trainers part. If the orcas were in their natural habitats the trainer would be alright and the orcas would be at peace.
Near death accident at Seaworld Killer Whale Shamu Beleive


Evolved Mammals: The film director had an neuroscientist on orcas and she gave some information on orcas brains and how they function. It was said that orcas has a part of their brain were emotion are controlled is more evolved than humans. This shows that orcas have emotions that are more developed than ones of a human.
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Psychotic Break: Another researcher that was interviewed had said that Tilikum basically had a psychotic break because of the abuse that he went through during his life. The film essentially makes the point that whales, which are perceptive and highly intelligent animals, suffer mental and physical harm after they are took from the wild. This gives explanation of why Tilikum was aggressive around others.
No Danger in the Wild: In, Blackfish there is said to have no claims of orcas attacking humans in the wild. This was because when orcas are left alone they are friendly and peaceful animals.
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SeaWorld Trainers: Former trainers from Sea World that years of experience with the orcas talked about their employment there. This connects to the purpose because it shoes they had experience with the orcas themselves and they interacted with the orcas the most.
Attack in Spain: There was an interview about a trainer who was attacked in Spain. It connects to the purpose because it talks about the orcas violent behavior toward the trainers. Also, it shows this wasn't the first time someone was attacked.
Big Boss Refutes: There were interview with higher up employees at SeaWorld which was done to get their perspective on the topic. During the interviews they would refute any evidence of the whaled being treated badly. Also, the CEO would blame the attacks on the trainers.