A former B.C. killer whale responsible for the deaths of two trainers and featured in the popular film BlackFish is in bad shape at SeaWorld.
In a video released by SeaWorld, staff say Tilikum, the 35 year old killer whale, is battling chronic health issues that are taking a greater toll as he ages.
Veterinarian Dr.Scott Gearhart becomes emotional as he discusses Tilikum’s deteriorating health.
“He has a disease which is chronic and progressive and at some point might cause his death.”
“He’s getting older and what I know is every day that I’m here and every day that these amazing veterinarians are here, he will receive the best care.”
Tilikum attacked and killed trainer Dawn Brancheau in Orlando six years ago, and was one of three whales blamed for killing a trainer in 1991 at Sealand of the Pacific in Victoria, B.C.
READ MORE: No more orca shows at Seaworld by 2017
SeaWorld has faced international scrutiny over its captive cetacean shows and breeding program, which intensified after the release of BlackFish.
The company’s value has decreased by half since the release of the film.
Late last year, SeaWorld San Diego announced it was scrapping it’s orca shows in response to customer feedback.
The company has also faced scrutiny after a string of cetacean deaths.
In December, Unna, an 18-year-old orca also died at the San Antonio facility.