SeaWorld has had quite the banner year ... if we're talking about funeral
banners. Just last week, they lost yet another killer whale, bringing Shamu's
2010 death toll to 3 orcas and 1 trainer.
was a 12-year-old orca. Born in captivity, Sumar was separated from his
mom — who he would have stayed close to his entire life in the wild
— when he was just a calf after she reportedly attacked him during
a show. (It should go without saying that, in the wild, they wouldn't have
been subjected to the stress of turning tricks for food in a small tank
in front of an audience.)
this year, while Sumar was living in exile in San Diego, his father, Tilikum,
was involved in the death of a trainer. Tilly is pimped out by SeaWorld
in, as Marc Bekoff aptly puts it, their "whale mill" operation,
where they continue to breed killer whales like it's a puppy mill, and ship
the calves all over the country with no regard for their family bonds. A
couple months ago, Sumar's mother, Taima, impregnated yet again by Tilly,
died along with her stillborn calf.
a pretty troubled life story for someone of any species. But, nonetheless,
SeaWorld called Sumar's death "mysterious," much like the previous
deaths had been "unexpected."