WDC joins call for SeaWorld to release full details of Tilikum's death
10 August 2017 - 8:57am
WDC has signed on to an open letter calling for SeaWorld to follow their legal obligations under the US National Marine Fisheries Service to release Tilikum’s full necropsy (animal autopsy). This also applies to his offspring and grand-offspring, including Kyara, the last orca calf to be born at SeaWorld, who died in July.
This information would be a valuable resource for scientists working to conserve wild orca populations, as it would provide detail on the type of bacteria and pathogens that can affect orcas, and what they might be most susceptible to, even though stress and prevalence of certain pathogens in captivity is certainly different than what wild orcas may be exposed to. For example, a recent study on the critically endangered Southern Resident orca population showed surprising pathogens present in their exhalations, including suspected antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and, according to SeaWorld, Tilikum died from an antibiotic-resistant strain of bacterial pneumonia.