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tv   Blackfish  CNN  October 24, 2013 9:00pm-11:01pm PDT

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entire facilities. that the seaworld of 20 years from now will probably have significantly different conditions. >> and also the relationship between keeper and animal is like. it's not like this. they are participants. >> thanks to tim zimmerman and gary stafford. go to facebook or twitter to weigh in on our fireback question. would you take your kids to seaworld? right now, 39% of you say yes. 61% say no. >> the debate will continue online at cnn.com/crossfire as well as on facebook and twitter. from the left. i'm van jones. >> on the right, i'm newt gingrich.
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fire rescue? >> 6600 sea harbor drive, sea world stadium. >> okay. >> we actually have a trainer in the water with one of our whales, the whale they aren't supposed to be in the water with. >> we'll get somebody in route. >> gate number three sea world stadium. >> gate three. >> sheriff's office. >> we need a respond to a dead person at sea world. a whale ate one of the trainers. >> a whale ate one of the trainers? >> that's correct.
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do you believe? >> my parents first brought me to a sea world park when i was very young. from that point forward, i was hooked. it meant everything to me because, you know, i never wanted anything more. >> i remember, you know, being probably in first or second grade watching national gee graphic specials or specials and seeing whales and dolphins and as a little kid, just being really incredibly inspired to it. i never went to sea world. i grew up in new york so i went to the bronx zoo. >> i grew up around the ocean. >> i came from the middle of the country in flat land kansas. >> from virginia traveled down, did the theme park thing in orlando and i was 17.
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and saw the night show at the stadium music, and i was driven to want to do that. >> and i saw what the trainers did. and i said that's what i want to do. >> one of the trainers there, he goes what are you doing out there? you should be a trainer. i said i don't know how to train animals. i've never trained animals in my life. >> how do you prepare yourself with an encounter with an 8,000 pound orca. >> i thought you needed a masters degree in marine biology to be a trainer. >> it takes years of study and experience to make the strict requirements necessary to interact in the water with shamu. >> come to find out, it is more about your personality and how good you can swim. >> i went and tried out and got the job right away. i was so, so excited. >> i really wanted to be there. i really wanted to do the job.
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i couldn't wait to get in the water with the animals. i really was proud of being a sea world trainer. i thought this was the most amazing job. >> i showed up there on my first day not really knowing what to expect. i was told to put on a wet suit and get in the water. >> hi, mom. >> i was scared out of my whits. >> first of all, i put my wet suit on backwards because i was raised on a farm in virginia. my first thought and memory of that time was that dolphins are a lot bigger than they look when you get in the water next to them. >> well, i watched this show and this guy mike moracco comes out during the show with a dress on, as dorothy in a dress with the sea lion, the coward sea line and walking along with a basket and go i will never ever do that, you know. two months later, hi, i'm dorothy. walking out on stage with the sea lion.
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>> i was overwhelmed and i was so excited. i mean, just seeing a killer whale is breathe taking. >> i was just in awe. it's shocking to see how large they are and how beautiful they are. >> being, you know, in the presence of the killer whales was inspiring and amazing and i remember seeing them for the first time, not just being able to believe how huge they were. you're there because you want to train killer whales and that's your goal. i didn't know it was going to happen, so i wasn't expecting it and one day they say okay, sam, you're ready to go. you're going to stand on the whale, you're going to dive off the whale. the whale will swim under you and pick you up again and you'll do a perimeter ride around the
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pool. they just told me to go do it and i did it. wow, i did -- i just rode a killer whale. >> when you look into their eyes, you know somebody is home. somebody is looking back. you form a very personal relationship with your animal. >> there is something absolutely amazing about working with an animal. you are a team. and you build a relationship together, and you both understand the goal, and you help each other. >> i've been with this whale since i was 18 years old. i've seen her have all four babies. we've grown up together. >> that's the joy i got out of it is a relationship lake i never had.
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>> i have to know, are you nervous? >> no. >> nice hair. [ laughter ] >> jeff ventre will go over there. >> don -- >> that's don. >> wow. >> i knew dawn when she was new. she was a great person to work with and obviously blossomed into sea world's best trainers. this is dawn brancheau, the senior training. >> i guess you can say i knew dawn in a past life. >> we do go through a lot of physical exertion.
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you do a lot of deep water work, breath holds, high-energy behavior. they are giving out energy, too, but we're working together and having fun. >> she's beautiful, blonde, athletic, friendly, everybody loves dawn. >> watching you perform yesterday, you are amazing. >> thank you. >> you really are. >> she captured what it means to be a sea world trainer. she had so much experience that it made me realize what happened to her really could have happened to anyone. >> this is detective rivera with the sheriff's office. in the room with me is thomas george tobin is that correct? >> correct. >> did you see any blood in the water or anything like that? >> she was scalped and there was no blood. >> okay. >> so pretty much we knew then the heart wasn't beating. >> once they were able to pull her away, how did he let go?
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>> he didn't. >> he never let go -- >> of the arm. >> he swallowed it. >> so the arm is nowhere -- >> right. >> on behalf of the federal government, he is basically suggesting with orcas is dangerous and you can't predict the outcome when you enter the water or their environment. >> the crux of the case, stay out of the proximity of the animals ask you won't get killed. >> it will have a ripple effect through the industry. this was national news. >> sea world whale performances may never be the same. >> they want to keep whale trainers in the water, something osha says is dangerous. >> these are wild animals and unpredictable because we don't speak whale. we don't spring whale, tiger, a monkey. >> tempers flared when osha's
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attorneys suggested sea world only made changes after dawn brancheau's death. >> they don't want trainers going back in the water without a physical barrier between them and the whales. >> being in close proximity between them is dangerous. >> they won't get on the water, riding, things like that. >> if you were in a bathtub for 25 years, don't you think you would get a little irritate, aggravated, maybe a little psychotic? >> the situation with dawn brancheau didn't just happen. it's not a singular event. you have to go back over 20 years to understand this. >> it was a really exciting thing to do until everybody wanted to do it. >> what were they telling you you were going to do?
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>> capture orcas. >> they had aircraft, spotters, speedboats, bombs they were throwing in the water. they were lighting their bombs with a settling torches and their boats and thoughing them as fast as they could to heard the whales into codes. but the orcas had been caught before, and they knew what was going on, and they knew their young ones would be taken from them so the adults without young went east into a cul-de-sac and the boats followed them thinking they were going that way while the mothers with babies went north but the capture teams had aircraft and they have to come up for air eventually and when they did the capture teams alerted the boats and said no, they are going north, the ones with babies so the speedboats caught them there and herded them in.
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>> they had fishing boats with same nets that would stretch across so none could leave and then they could just pick out the young ones. >> we were only after the little ones, and the little ones, you know, big animal still but i was told because of shipping costs, that's why we only take the little ones. >> they had the young ones that they wanted in the corrals, so they dropped the same nets and all the others could have left but they stayed. >> they were trying to get the young orca in the stretcher and the whole family is out here 25 yards away maybe in a big line communicating back and forth.
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well, you understand then what you're doing, you know. i lost it. i mean, i just started crying. i didn't stop working, but i, you know, just couldn't handle it. just like kidnapping a little kid away from a mother. everybody is watching, what can you do? but the worst thing i could think of, you know, i can't think of any worse than that. you know, this really sounds bad but when the whole hunt was over, there were three dead whales in the net, and so they had peter and brian and i cut the whales open, fill them with
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rocks and put anchors on the tail and sink them.'t even think about it being illegal at that point. i thought it was a p.r. thing. >> they were finally ejected from the state of washington by a court order in 1976. it was sea world by name that was told do not come back to washington to capture whales. without missing a beat, they went from washington to iceland and began capturing there. >> part of revolution and two change of presidents in central and south america and seen some things that it's hard to believe, but this is the worst
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thing that i've ever done is hunt that whale. ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] united is rolling out global, satellite-fed wi-fi to connect you even 35,000 feet over the ocean. ♪
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sea land has been a part of victoria for over 20 years. we specialize in the care and display of killer whales. >> by the time i started he was four, he was up to 16 feet long and weighed 4,000 pounds. i had actually seen tilikum quite a number of times. he was right across the street here in victoria. all sea land was was a net hang income a marina with a float around it. tilikum was the one we really loved to work with. he was very well behaved and he was always eager to please. >> when he was first introduced, everything went fine and dandy but the previous head trainer used techniques that involved punishment. he would team a trained orca with tilikum untrained and send
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them to do the same behavior. if tilikum didn't do it, both animals were punished. deprived of food. kept them hungry this caused a lot of frustration with the larger animal, established animal and would in turn get frustrated with tilikum and rake him with his teeth. >> there would be times during certain seasons that tilikum would be covered head to toe with rakes. rakes are teeth on teeth and raking you could see blood and scratches and he would just be raked up. >> both females would gang up on him. tilikum was the one we trusted. we never were concerned about tilikum. the issue was we stored these whales at night in a modular 20 feet across and probably 30 feet deep. as a safety precaution because we were worried about cutting the net and letting them go and no lights out. so there is no stimulation, just in a dark metal 20 foot by 30 foot pool for 2/3rds of their
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life. >> when we first started, they were quite small and quite young so they fit in there quite nicely, but they were immobile for the most part. >> it didn't feel good. it just didn't. and it -- it was just wrong. >> we started having difficulty getting them all into this one small steel box, to be honest. that's what it was. it was a floating steel box. >> that's where food deprivation could come in. we would hold back food and they knew if they went in the modular they would get food so if they were hungry enough they went in there. >> during the winter 5:00 at night until 7:00 in the morning. >> teeth rakes and blood. >> closing that door on him and knowing that he's locked in there for the whole night is like -- it's a stab. it's whoa. >> if that is true, it's not
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only inhumane and i'll tell them so but it probably led to what i think is a psychosis that he was on a hair trigger. >> an employee is dead after an encounter. >> at a canada park called sea land of the pacific. >> the victim was a championship swimmer and a part-time worker at sea land. >> as scene in this home video, rescuers used a huge net. >> efforts were hindered by the agitated whales. >> i would like to use this summer but my moore immediate goal is to swim fast at nationals. >> it was sort of a cloudy gray day and we were looking for something to do, so we thought why not go to sea land?
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it was kind of like this dingy pool with whales. >> it just felt a little bit like an amusement park kind of on the last legs and everything was gray. >> yeah, it was like a swimming pool. >> yeah. >> three whales in a swimming pool. >> yeah. and they would come up and touch the ball, and there was -- i think there was some tail splashing and there was some -- >> jumping. >> with the fish -- >> they hold the fish in the whales jump up. i remember saying, oh, what a fun job, you know. she's so lucky. and then i saw her walking with her rubber boots and she tripped and her foot just dipped into the edge of the pool and she lost her balance and fell in and she was pushing her way up to get out of the pool and the whale zoomed over, grabbed her boot and pulled her back in. at first, i didn't think it was that serious because you see -- you see the trainer in the pool
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with the whale and you think, oh, well, you know, the whales are used to that, you know, then all of a sudden it started getting -- there was more swimming, more activity, more thrashing and she was starting to get panicked and then as it progressed, you started to realize well, something is not right here. >> she started to scream. and she started looking around and her eyes were like bigger and bigger and realizing that i really am in trouble here. >> and then they would pull her under, and then they would come up and when she -- when they came up she would be help me, help me and they would take her down again. >> and she would be submerged for several seconds up to, i don't know, maybe a minute. you don't -- you're not keeping track. >> so, you know, it was harder and harder for her to, you know, to, you know, get the air in because she was screaming and my sister remembers her saying i don't want to die.
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>> the family. >> that we couldn't help her. it was pretty watched. >> it closed. probably a good thing. the owner made the right decision for whatever reasons. i don't believe he's a bad guy, a bad man. i think he was shocked by the whole affair, too. >> the blush was gone from the business, and he decided that that was it, we should shut down. >> no one ever contacted us. there was an inquest. no one ever asked us to say what happened. you know, we just left. >> there was no big lawsuits afterwards and there is no memorial and, you know, the only thing remaining of her is, you know, what's left in the folk's minds who recall the case. >> so in the newspaper articles, the cause of death is that she
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drowned accidently, but, you know, she was pulled under by the whale. >> well, there is a bit of smoke and mirrors going on. one of the fundamental facts is none of the witnesses are clear about which whale pulled her in. >> it was the large whale tilikum, the male is the one that went after her and the other two just kind of circled around but he was definitely the instigator and we know it was him because he had the flopped over fin. like it was very easy to tell. >> sea land of the pacific closed its doors and was looking, i guess, to make a buck on the way out and these whales are worth millions of dollars. >> when sea world heard tilikum was available after this accident at sea land of the pacific, they really wanted tilikum because they needed a breeder. so i don't even think that anybody even was questioning like is this a good idea? >> my understanding of the
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situation was that tilikum and the others would not be use in shows. they would not be performance animals. our understanding of their behavior is it was such a highly stimulating event for them, they were likely to repeat it. >> we were young and sea cowboys and not so technical and we had this vision they knew more than us and they were better than us and tilikum would have a better pool and better life and better care and better food and be a great life for him. so it was like okay, tili, you're going to disneyland. lucky you. intelligence may be superior just by talking to a helmet. it grabbed the patient's record before we even picked him up.
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intelligence may be superior to mans. as parents they are better than many human beings and like human being they have an instinct for vengeance. presents "orca". >> if you go back only 35 years, we knew nothing in fact less than nothing what the public had was superstition and fear. >> a sight to the death. between the two most dangerous animals on earth. >> these were the vicious killer whales that, you know, had 48 sharp teeth that would rip you to shreds if they got a chance. >> what we learned is that they
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are amazingly friendly, and understanding and intuitively want to be your companion. >> are you recording this? [ laughter ] >> and to this day there is no record of an orca doing any harm to any human in the wild. ♪ >> they live in these big families, and they have life spans very similar to human life spans. the females can live to about 100, maybe more. males to about 50 or 60, but the adult offspring never leave their mother's side. each community has a completely different set of behaviors. each has a complete vocalizations with no over lap.
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you can call them languages, the scientific community is reluctant to say any other animal uses languages than humans but there is every indication they use languages. >> the orca brain just screams out intelligence, awareness. we took this tremendous brain and put it in a magnetic residence imaging scanner. what we found was just astounding. they have a part of the brain that humans don't have, a part of their brain has extended out right adjacent to their system that processes emotions. the safest inference would be these are animals that have highly elaborated emotional lives. it's becoming clear that dolphins and whales have a sense of self-, a sense of social bonding they have taken to another level, much stronger,
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much more complex than another -- other mammals, including humans. the fact they stand by each other. everything about them is social, everything. it's been suggested that their whole sense of self-is distributed among the individuals in their group. >> five of them. these orca are going to attack this sea lion. they have been breaking the ice off and swimming around and -- oh, here they come two of them look. you can see them underneath. they made a big wave. look at that. big wave. oh, yeah. >> oh, god, no, no, no. >> if you can't watch the bullfight, you better leave. >> here they go, look at this, three of them. >> oh, god, oh, no, oh, god. >> it's all over. >> no, not yet.
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>> yeah, it's all over. it's all over. ♪ >> the old fishermen on the coast, they call them blackfish. they are an animal that possesses great spiritual power, and not to be mettled with. i've spent a lot of time around killer whales, and they are always in charge. i never get out of the boat. i never mess with them. the speed and the power is quite amazing. rules are the same as the pool hall. keep one foot on the floor at all times.
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you can actually see them thousands of times. you see them and you still, you know, wake up. [ horn honks ] [ passenger ] airport, please. what airline? united. [ indian accent ] which airline, sir? [ passenger ] united. whoa taxi! [ british accent ] what airline, then? [ passenger ] united. all right. [ spanish ] what airline? [ passenger ] united. ♪ [ mandarin ] which airline? [ passenger ] united. [ arabic ] which airline? [ passenger ] united. [ italian ] where are we going? [ passenger ] united. [ male announcer ] more destinations than any other airline. [ thai ] which airline do you fly? [ passenger ] united. [ male announcer ] that's great, big world friendly. ♪ the united states population [ is going to grow by over 90 greatovemillion people,ears and almost all that growth is going to be in cities. what's the healthiest and best way for them to grow
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he arrived, i think in 199.
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i was at whale and dolphin stadium when he arrived. he's twice as large as the next animal in the facility. >> right at about 12,000 pounds. incredible. looks fantastic. >> when tilikum arrived at sea world he was attacked viciously repeatedly by katina and others. in the wild it's a very mate society. males are kept in the perimeter. in captivity, animals are squeezed into very close proximity. tilikum, the poor guy is so large he couldn't get away because he just is not as mobile, relative to the smaller and more feels. >> he spent time in isolation. sea world claims he's always with the females but from what i saw he was mostly put with the females for breeding purposes and he didn't spend a lot of time with the other whales.
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>> it's for his own protection, you know, he gets beat up, and so by segregating him, it provides a physical barrier so the females can't kick his butt. >> tilikum is pretty much kept in the back, and then brought out at the very end as like the big splash. he was always happy to see you in the morning. >> hi. >> there we go. >> good boy. >> because because he was alone. maybe because he was hungry. maybe because he liked you. who knows what was going on in his head. >> want to whistle? >> yes? >> that was really loud. >> come on. >> he seemed to like to work. he seemed to be interested. he seemed to want to learn new things. he seemed to be enjoying, you know, working with the trainers.
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>> he, for me, was a joy. he really responded to me, and i, you know, every day i went to work, i was happy to see tili. >> that's cute. [ laughter ] >> you're being too cute. >> i never got the impression of him, while i was there, that, you know, oh my god, he's the scary whale, not at all. >> maybe some of its just our naivety or whatever. because we weren't given the full details of keltie's situation. >> i was under the impression that tilikum had nothing to do with her death, specifically, that it was the female whales responsible for her death. what i found odd at first was the way they were acting around this whale and what they told us seemed to be two different things. the first day he arrived, i remember a senior trainer, tilikum was in a pool and she
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was walking over a gate and had her wet suit unzipped tied around her waist and making cooing noises and tilikum, what a cute whale and play talking at him and one of the supervisors said get her out of there and just screamed at her like get her away from there like they were so worried something would happen and i remember thinking why are you guys making such a big deal out of this when he didn't actually kill her? well, clearly management thought there was some reason to exercise caution around him. clearly, they knew more than they were telling us. >> ladies and gentlemen, the next to be scene, you can only see right here at sea world. >> jeff was out in the audience filming one of the shamu shows. it was a perfect shoe. all the hot dog sequences, water sequences went off great. >> i was really excited just to be capturing this because it was kind of turning out to be a great show.
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a show that's kind of complete. it doesn't -- it probably only happens a few times a week. >> at the very end of the show, liz was working tilikum and apparently tilikum lunged out of the water at her. >> and i had captured tilikum coming out of the water kind of turning side ways and appeared to me to try to grab liz and at that moment, the tape became unusable. i was just kind of basically instructed to get rid of the tape. wanting to kind of preserve the tape, i actually used the editing equipment and snipped that out and stitched it back together so it looked like a glitch in the tape and like look at this and like no, this is no longer usable, you know, so we had to destroy the tape. i have low testosterone. there, i said it.
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>> shamu is a safe and comfortable habitat. >> natural behavior. >> i spewed out the party line during shows. i'm totally mortified now there is like something like, look at namu is not doing that because
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she has to. namu is doing that because she really wants to. oh my gosh. like some of the things i'm embarrassed by. so embarrassed by. at the time i think i could have convinced myself that the relationships that we had were built on something stronger than the fact that i'm giving them fish. you know, i liked to think that. but i don't know that that's the truth. i had been there a while, and i had seen a few other things along the way that made me question why i was there and what we were doing with these animals. >> on november 4th, 1988, the killer whale at seaworld give a performance of a lifetime. ♪
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don't miss this small miracle. come see our new baby shamu. >> i know it was naive of me, but i thought that it was our responsibility to do as much as we could to keep their family units together, since we knew that in the wild that's what happened. ♪ yes, sir that's our baby >> kolina was the first baby shamu. >> baby shamu, seaworld's biggest star. >> she had become quite disrupting and challenging her mom and disrupting some shows and that kind of thing. ♪ she's got the whole place jumping shamu she's our baby whale ♪ >> it was decided that she would be moved to another park when she was just 4, 4 1/2 years old. to me it would never cross my mind that they might be moving the baby from her mom.
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the supervisors basically was kind of mocking me. oh, you're saying poor kolina. what's she going to do without her mommy? and that of course just shut me up. so the night of the move we had to deploy the nets to separate them and get kolina the baby into the pool. and she was generally a quiet whale. she was not an overly vocal whale. after kolina was removed from the scene and taken to the airport and katina, her mom was left in the pool, she stayed in the corner of the pool, like literally shaking and screaming, screeching crying like i had never seen her do anything like that. and the other females in the pool maybe once or twice during the night would come out and check on her. and she would screech and cry, and they would just run back.
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there was nothing that you could call that watching it besides grief. >> those are not your whales. you know. you love them and you think, i'm the one that touches them, feeds them, keeps them alive, gives them the care that they need. they're not your whales. they own them. >> they were very close. kasatka was the mother. takara is the calf. takara was special to me. they were inseparable. when they separated kasatka and takara it was to take takara to florida. once takara had been stretchered out of the pool, put on the truck, driven to the airport, kasatka continued to make vocals that had never been heard before. they brought in the senior research scientist to analyze
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the vocals. they were long range vocals. she was trying something that no one had even heard before looking for takara. that's heartbreaking. how can anyone look at that and think that that is morally acceptable. it's not. it is not okay. river, multi-car, paid in full -- a most fulsome bounty indeed, lord jamie. thou cometh and we thy saveth! what are you doing? we doth offer so many discounts, we have some to spare. oh, you have any of those homeowners discounts? here we go. thank you. he took my shield, my lady. these are troubling times in the kingdom. more discounts than we knoweth what to do with. now that's progressive.
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standby. >> let's go live to seaworld where dan is joining us for a sneak peek. hi, dean. tell us about the new show. >> good afternoon, richard. the new show is whale and dolphin discovery. it shows the relationship that we have with all of our animals here. >> there's so many things that were told to us. they tell you so many times that you start believing it, you know. >> all the animals here get along very well. it's just like training your dog really. >> i was blind really. i was a kid. i didn't know what i was doing really. >> nice. good job.
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you did a real good job. ♪ >> this is david from maryland. go ahead and wave at everyone, david. >> i just really bought into what they told us. i learned to say what they told us to the audience. >> hello out there. children are some of shamu's biggest fans. >> i thought i knew everything about killer whales when i worked there and everything about the animals. i really know nothing about killer whales. i know a lot about being a killer whale trainer, but i don't know anything about these animal's natural history or their behavior. i really in some ways believed a lot of what i was learning from them because why would they lie? >> because the whales in their pools die young, they like to say that all orcas die at 25 to 35 years. >> 25 to 35 years. >> they're documenting in the wild living to be about 35, mid 30s. it's longer in this environment because they have all the veterinary care. >> and of course that's false. we knew by 198 # 0 after half a
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dozen years of research that they live equivalent to human life spans. and every other potentially embarrassing fact is twisted and turned and denied one way or another. >> so in the wild they live less. >> like the floppy dorsal fins. >> 25% of whales have a fin that turns over like that as they get older. >> dorsal collapse happens in less than 1% of wild killer whales. we know this. all the captive males, 100% have collapsed dorsal fins, and they say that they're a family. that the whales are in their family. they have their pods, but that's just, you know an artificial a semblance of their collection, however management decides they should mix them and whichever ones happen to be born or bought or brought in. that's not a family. you know. come on. >> you've got animals from different cultural subsets that have been brought in from various parks. these are different nations.
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these aren't two different killer whales. these animals have different genes. these different languages. >> well, what can happen as a result of them being thrown in with other whales that they haven't grown up with, that are not part of their culture is there's hyperaggression. a lot of violence, a lot of killing in captivity that you don't ever see in the wild. >> for the held and safety of the animals, please do not put your hands in the water. >> there's always this backdrop. this underpinning of tension between animals. whale-on-whale aggression was just part of your -- you know, the daily existence. >> we ask that you use the stairs and aisle ways as you exit. please do not step on the seats. these areas may become wet, and therefore slippery to some footwear. thank you. ♪
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>> in the wild when there's tension they have thousands of square miles to exit the scene and they can get away. you don't have that in captivity. could you imagine being a small concrete enclosure for your life when you're used to swimming 100 miles a day? >> sometimes this aggression became very severe, and in fact whales have died in captivity because of this aggression. >> i think it was 1988, one rammed corky. it fractured her jaw, which cut an artery in her head, and then she bled out. that's got to be a hard way to go down. i saw there was just a lot of things that weren't right. and there was a lot of misinformation and something was amiss. and i sort of compartmentalized that part of it and did the best
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i could with the knowledge that i had. >> and i think all the trainers there have the same thing in their heart. they're trying to make a difference in the lives of the animals. they think if i leave, who is going to take care of tilikum? that's why i stayed. i felt sorry for tilikum. i mean, if you want to get down to the nuts and bolts of it, i stayed because i felt sorry for tilikum, and i couldn't bring myself to stop coming and trying to take care of him. ♪ >> gosh, do i love coming out here every day and having the audience just love what we're doing tw the animals. how do i make the audience know how beautiful the animal is? and they're touched and moved. >> i left in january of 2010, a month before dawn passed away.
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she was like a safety guru. i mean, she was always double checking and making sure that everyone was doing the right thing. so i remember she would record every show that she did and she would watch it and critique herself. and she was constantly trying to be better. when i found out it was dawn, i was shocked. that could have been me. i could have been the spotter. what if i was there and i could have saved her? all these things go through your mind. >> john selig is the guy who was crushed between two whales at seaworld in san diego. now even though i had been working at seaworld for six months, i had no idea that had even happened. i never heard the story. and the seaworld party line would say it was a trainer error. >> it was john's fault.
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john's fault. it was supposed to get off that whale. and for years i believed that. i told people that. i actually started seaworld like five days after that event occurred, and we weren't told much about it, other than it was trainer error, and, you know, especially when you're new into the program, you don't really question a whole lot. well, years later when you actually look at the footage, you go, you know what, he didn't do anything wrong. that whale went to the wrong spot. it could have been aggression. it was not the trainer's fault watching that video. >> when i saw the video of the killer whale landing on john, i mean, it just absolutely took my breath away. i gasped. i watched it two or three times. every time i gasped. what kept his body together is his wet suit held him together.
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but i know he's had multiple surgeries and he's got tons of hardware in his body and it's hard for me to believe i didn't see that when i was actually an animal trainer. it seems to me every person who works with killer whales should have to watch that video. tamary. you know, tamary made mistakes. the most important was reacting with whales without a spotter. so she's putting her foot on orchid. she's taking it off. she's putting her foot on orchid, she's taking it off. watching your video and knowing orchid, your stomach drops. she grabbed her foot. tamary whips around and she grabs the gate. you see her just whipped from the gate. at this point tamary knows that she's in trouble.
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she's under the water. splash and orchid both have her. she's totally out of view. no other trainer knows this is happening. people start to scream, the park guest that was filming it. you hear. you don't see her. but you hear tamary surface. you hear her just scream out "somebody help me", and the way she screamed it, it was just such a blood curdling like, she knew she was going to die. robin, when he ran over, he made a brilliant decision he told the runner to run and take the chain off kasatka's gate. by taking that chain off it would give the precursor to orchid that kasatka is coming in. kasatka is more dominant than orchid, so orchid let her go. her arm, it was u-shaped. it was compound fractured. she's very lucky to be alive, that's for sure.
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i believe it's 70 plus, maybe even more, just killer whale trainer accidents. maybe 30 of them happened prior to me actually being hired at seaworld. and i knew about none of them. >> i've seen animals come out at trainers. i've seen people get slammed. the whales are just playing or they're upset for a second.
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it was just something that happened, you know. >> it's culture of you get back on the horse and you dive back in the water, and if you're hurt, well, then we've got other people that will replace you, and you came a long way. you sure you want that? >> a seaworld trainer is recovering after a terrifying ordeal in front of a horrified audience.
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>> for some reason, the whale just took a different approach to what it was going to do with a very senior, very experienced trainer, ken peters and drug him to the bottom of the pool and held him at the bat tom, let him go. picked him up, took him down again. and these periods he was taken down were pretty close to the mark. you know. a minute. a minute 20. when he was at the surface, he didn't panic. he didn't thrash. he didn't scream. maybe he's just built that way, but he stroked the whale. and the whale let go of one foot and grabbed the other.
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that's a pretty deep pool. and he took him right down. i think that's to two atmospheres pressure. apparently mr. peters isn't an experienced scuba diver. i think that knowledge contributed to how he was able to be hauled down there that early and stay calm and know what to do. he knew what he was doing because when you can see him in the film, you can see him ventilating. you can see him ventilating really hard. he knows about swimming and diving and being underwater. he may have been assuming he was going underwater again. i did not walk away unimpressed by his calm demeanor during that whole affair. i would be scared shitless.
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♪ >> he was near to the end. presumably ken peters had a relationship with this whale. maybe he did. maybe that's what saved him, but peters got the whale to let him go. and they strung a net across, and ken peters pulled himself over the float line, and swam like a demon to a slide out because the whale was coming right behind him. the whale jumped over it and kept right after him. he tried to stand up and run but his feet were damaged. he scrambled.
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and they take this as a prime example of their training working. and they say stand back and stay calm. and that did work. they claim this is a victory of how they do business. and maybe so. but it can also be interpreted as a hair's thread away from another fatality. ♪
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hi, shamu. hi, everybody. we're the johnsons from detroit, michigan. we sure had a great time when we visited seaworld. it's one of our favorite places. >> i like when shamu gets everybody wet. >> when the whales get up close to the glass, whammo, you're a goner. >> orange county sheriff deputies have identified the 27-year-old man found dead in a killer whale's tank at seaworld. the victim is daniel p. dukes from south carolina. he was found draped over the back of tilikum, the largest orca whale in captivity. >> all i know is he was a young man that had been arrested not long before he snuck into seaworld. maybe he climbed the barbed wire fence and stayed afterhours.
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>> perfect story line. a mentally disturb guy hides in the park afterhours and strips his clothes off and decides he wants to have a magical experience with an orca and drowns because he became hypothermic. >> he was not detected by the night watch trainers who were presumably at the station. >> there are cameras all over seaworld. there are cameras all over the back of shamu stadium pointed every which way. there are underwater cameras. i find it hard to believe that nobody knew until the morning that there was a body in there. they have a night watch trainer. that person didn't hear any slashing or screaming? i just find that really suspicious. >> one of the employees, i don't know if it was a physical therapist or somebody was coming in the morning and there was tilikum with a dead naked guy on his back, kind of parading him around the back pool.
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the public relation spin on this is he was a drifter and died of hypothermia, but the medical examiner reports were more graphic than that. for example, tilikum stripped him, bit off his genitals. there was bite marks all over his body. >> now whether that was post death or predeath, i don't know, but all i can comment on is the guy definitely jumped in the wrong pool. ♪ so why keep tilikum there? this guy has a proven track record of killing people. he's clearly a liability to the institution. why keep him around? well, it's quite simple to answer, and that is that his s, men is worth quite a lot of money.
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>> over the years tilikum has been one of the main breeding whales at seaworld. which is brilliant because they can inseminate way more female whales because they can get his sperm and freeze it and he's basically operating as a sperm bank. in a reputable breeding program, rule number one is you certainly would not breed an animal that has shown a history of aggression towards humans. imagine if you had a pit bull who had killed -- i mean, that animal would have likely been put down, but an entire seaworld collection, like 54% of the whales in seaworld's collection now have tilikum's genes. >> the fall is to assume all killer whales are like tilikum. you have to look at their learning history from birth.
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you have to understand why tilikum was a hazard to anybody in the water. and you have to understand that none of the other killer whales at seaworld are in that system are that way. >> what about the accident at laurel park? >> first of all, i can't speak with specificity about loro parque. i wasn't there. i -- in fact, i know very little about it. probably about as much as the general public knows. ♪ [ speaking in spanish ]
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[ speaking in spanish ] >> loro parque is in the canary islands in spain. it's the largest tourist attraction in all of spain. [ speaking in spanish ] >> and when seaworld sent the orcas to loro parque, everybody was always questioning like, how did they make that leap to send four young orcas off the west coast of africa with trainer who is a lot of them had never been around orcas before.
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nothing was ready. the venue wasn't ready. it wasn't ready for the orcas. it wasn't ready for the show. the owner of the park didn't want to lose revenue by shutting down the pools and repairing them. so for three years the animals ate the pools and for three years the animals had problems. with their teethes. with their stomachs. that's why the reason the animals are enduring the endoscope procedures. those are still seaworld's animals, and they are responsible for those animals. loro parque doesn't have a good reputation. people who work in the business know the reputation of other businesses and loro parque doesn't have a good reputation. they didn't spend the same amount of time as the seaworld trainers.
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didn't go through the same regimen the seaworld trainer went through. and alexi really was the best trainer. i did say, you know, you're the only trainer there that could hold his own with a seaworld trainer, you know, but i said you need to be careful. [ speaking in spanish ] [ speaking in spanish ] >> anywhere along the line it could have been stopped because everyone knew it was a tragedy waiting to happen, but no one every did anything about it. and in the end it was the best trainer who lost his life.
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[ speaking in spanish ] [ speaking in spanish ] [ speaking in spanish ] [ speaking in spanish ]
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[ speaking in spanish ] [ speaking in spanish ] [ speaking in spanish ]
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[ speaking in spanish ] those were seaworld's whales. they were trained using seaworld's techniques, and their training was being supervised at the time of the accident by one of the senior trainers from san diego. ♪ ♪ >> for somebody to get up and say in a court of law they have
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no knowledge of the linkages between seaworld and this park, well, either she doesn't know and is telling the truth, or it's just a boldfaced lie. [ male announcer ] it's simple physics... a body at rest tends to stay at rest... while a body in motion tends to stay in motion. staying active can actually ease arthritis symptoms. but if you have arthritis, staying active can be difficult. prescription celebrex can help relieve arthritis pain so your body can stay in motion. because just one 200mg celebrex a day can provide 24 hour relief for many with arthritis pain and inflammation.
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for a body in motion.
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as trainers we never forget shamu's true potential. we see it each and every day. that's why all our reactions are very carefully thought out. especially our waterwork interaction. whoa!
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you big dork! especially our water work interactions because they're potentially the most dangerous. >> i've been expecting it since the second person was killed. i've been expecting somebody to be killed by tilikum. i'm surprised it took as long as it did. >> first tonight, a six-time killer whale has lived up to its name killing a trainer at seaworld. >> a tourist said the whale seemed agitated. >> trainers complained the whales weren't cooperating. >> the main show was a disaster that day. >> they were whales chasing each other and eventually the trainers decided they had to stop the show and they couldn't get the whales under control. >> tilikum was in the back pool set up to do a dine with shamu performance with dawn.
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>> likely she saw what had gone on and probably felt more pressure to do a good show. when you watch the whole video, you can see that tilikum is actually really with dawn in the beginning of the video. there's a couple of behaviors that she asks him to do where tilikum just jumps right in and does exactly what she asks him to do. >> we're going to show you how agile these guys are. >> there seemed to be a point in the session where things went south, so to speak, and in my humble opinion, it was at that missed bridge, whistle bridge on the perimeter pec wave. >> she asked him to do a perimeter pec wave, where she asked him to basically go all the away around the pool and wave his pectoral flipper, and she blows her whistle, which is a bridge, which tells the animal, okay, you've done a good
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job, come back and get food, but he missed that cue. and he went all the way around the pool on this perimeter pec wave. >> we're going to let him keep on waving. >> my interpretation is that he didn't hear the whistle. >> so not only did he not hear the bridge, then he went and did a perfect behavior and came back and what he got was what we call three-second neutral response, which is just no, no you didn't do the correct thing. you're not going to get rewarded, and then we're going to move on, and you can also see through the video that dawn is running out of food. >> the animals can sense when you're getting to the bottom of your bucket of fish, because they can hear the ice clanging around and the fishy soupy water at the bottom and the handfuls of fish they get delivered by the trainer are getting smaller. so they know they're coming down to the end of session. >> when you see the difference between the beginning of the video and the end of the video, you can see he's just not quite
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on his game anymore. >> there's no food left. she kept asking him for more and more behaviors. he wasn't getting reinforced for the behaviors that he was doing correctly. he probably was frustrated towards the end. then she walked around the perimeter of g-pool. he followed her. and then continued over into the rocky ledge area where she laid down with him to do a relationship session, which is quiet time basically. tilikum at some point grabbed a hold of her left forearm and started to drag her and eventually did a barrel roll and pulled her in. may have started as play or frustration, and clearly escalated to the very violent behavior that i think was anything but play. in the end, you know, he basically just completely mutilated that poor girl.
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>> they were gathering all of the trainers at the texas park. he said there's been an accident. at the florida park and a trainer was killed. hearing it was dawn, i couldn't believe it. i remember saying to myself, not dawn. it can't be dawn. he says, and he still has her. and i just was so disturbed by that, and the reality of how powerless we are. >> laceration, fractures, fractures and associated hemorrhages, blunt force traumas to the main body to the extremities. to see this beating against a trainer, and i cannot fathom the reason, is shocking. the lawyer for osha asked me what i thought we had learned,
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and i'm sitting in the courtroom, and i've got the burn case file in one hand and i've got dawn brancheau in the other and they're almost to the day 20 years apart and i'm looking at these two things and my only answer is nothing. not a damn thing. we have not learned a damn thing for something like that to happen 20 years apart.
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could you tell if it was an accident? >> did the female trainer work with this whale on a regular basis? >> i don't know. we had a female trainer back in the holding area. she slipped and fell this the tank and was fatally injured by a whale. >> at first seaworld reported that a trainer slipped and fell in the water and was drowned. that was the first report. >> it wasn't until eyewitness accounts disputed that that they went in the huddle and said we have to come up with a new plan. >> seaworld confirmed the killer whale pulled the woman into the water. she didn't fall into the tank as the sheriff department initially reported. >> the new story was she grabbed her ponytail. this is a subtle way of blaming it on dawn. if she did have a ponytail, it should have been in a bun. >> dawn if she was standing here now would tell me that was her mistake in allowing that to happen. >> they blamed her.
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how dare you? how disrespectful for you to blame her when she's not even alive to defend herself. >> he grabbed her ponytail and pulled her into the water. that's as simple as it gets. >> there are photographs of plenty of other trainers doing exactly the same thing that she was doing. so i knew that seaworld was lying act the fact that this was her fault. >> the ponytail in all likelihood is just a tale. the safety spotter who apparently didn't see the takedown came up with that. >> now during the spotter's testimony, osha pushed him to say he wasn't really sure it was her ponytail that was in the whale's mouth, that he just saw her underwater and he assumed it was the ponytail. osha contends that the whale came up and grabbed on brancheau's arm, saying that was another level of aggressiveness. seaworld is saying it was not an aggressive move. one of seaworld's top curator's said when dawn brancheau was
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pulled off the ledge it wasn't necessarily aggressive by the whale. >> the initial grab was not an act of aggression. this is not a crazed animal. >> the industry has a vested industry? spinning these so they continue to appear like cuddly teddy bears that are completely safe. it sells a lot of shamu dolls. it sells a lot of tickets at the gates. that's the story line they're going to continue to stick with for as long as they can. >> recognize that those that say this is a crazed animal that acted out and grabbed dawn that maliciously, they want to prove the theory that whales in captivity makes them crazy.
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>> all whales in captivity have a bad life. they're all psychologically traumatized. so they're ticking time bombs. it's not just tilikum. >> we have to separate what happened to dawn, and as tragic as it is, no one wants to see it ever happen again. can seaworld create an environment where it never happens again? yes, i absolutely believe they can. what if there were no seaworlds? i can't imagine a society with the value we put in marine mammals if those parks didn't exist. >> i'm not at all interested in having my daughter, who is 3 1/2 grow up thinking it's normalized to have these intelligent highly evolved animals in concrete pools. i don't want her to think that's how we treat the kin that we find ourselves around on this planet. i think it's atrocious. >> this hearing is expected to last all week with osha
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continuing to work towards the theory that seaworld knew there was a calculated risk of injury or death, but put trainers in the water with the whales anyway. why seaworld will say that dawn brancheau's death was an isolated incident. reporting live in seminole county, dave mcdaniel. ♪ [ male announcer ] united is rolling out global, satellite-fed wi-fi to connect you even 35,000 feet over the ocean. ♪ that's...wifi friendly. ♪ see, i knew testosterone could affect sex drive, but not energy or even my mood. that's when i talked with my doctor. he gave me some blood tests... showed it was low t.
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>> there's something wrong with tilikum that there's something wrong, and that's when you have a relationship with an animal, and you understand that he's killing, not to be a savage he's not killing because he's just crazy. he's not killing because he doesn't know what he's doing. he's killing because he's frustrated, and he's got aggravations, and he doesn't know how to -- he has no outlet for it. >> now tilikum is spending a great deal of time by himself and basically floating lifeless
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in a pool. >> three hours now. and he hasn't moved. >> they try to sugar coat it by saying he comes out in the front pool every once in a while. now he's doing shows. you know what he does in his show? he does a few bows. and then he goes back into his little jail cell. that's his life. >> i feel sad for tilikum. a regal thing like him swimming around a tank with his fin flopped over like that, you know, compared to a while bull killer whale that size, which is one of the most kinetic and dynamic things you can imagine. i feel sad when i see him. >> it's time to stop the shows. it's time to stop forcing the animals to perform in basically a circus environment. they should release the animals
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that are young enough and healthy enough to be released. and the whales like tilikum should be we leased to an open ocean penn so they can live out their lives and experience the national rhythms of the ocean. >> this is a multibillion dollar corporation that makes its money through the exploitation of orcas. >> they're not suitable to have in captivity. >> the whales are really bored. you deprive them of all the environmental stimulation. >> i think that in 50 years we'll look back and go my god what a barbaric time.
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>> dawn brancheau, db, dream big. dawn was the most loving giving person you ever met. her smile just radiated. she fulfilled her life. i couldn't wait to see her again.
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but i didn't want her to see my psoriasis. no matter how many ways i try to cover up, my psoriasis keeps showing up. all her focus is on me. but with these dry, cracked, red, flaky patches, i'm not sure if i want it to be. this is more than uncomfortable, it's unacceptable. visit psoriasis.com where you can get refusing to hide, a free guide filled with simple strategies for living well with psoriasis. learn more at psoriasis.com and talk to your dermatologist. [poof!] [clicks mouse] there's doughnuts in the conference room.
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we saw whales swimming in straight lines with straight dorsal fins. i was so honored to be there. and i was so thankful that i had sunglasses on because the tears were kind of coming out, and it was moving. ♪
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♪ -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com
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welcome back to this anderson cooper special report "inside blackfish: killers in captivity."

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