AN infamous whale held in captivity at SeaWorld allegedly feasted on a tank intruder’s penis before drowning him – and that wasn’t his only victim.
Tilikum, who died in 2017, was responsible for at least three human deaths in his lifetime, one of which involved Daniel P. Dukes, 27.
Dukes allegedly waited in the Florida SeaWorld park until after closing in July 1999, at which time he stripped his clothes off to reveal swim trunks, and climbed into the 11,000-pound whale’s tank.
SeaWorld employees and trainers found the mauled man the next morning.
A wrongful death lawsuit was filed by Dukes’ parents, Michael and Patricia Dukes, claiming that Tilikum used his teeth to rip off Dukes’ penis.
Dukes’ death was the second involving Tilikum.
In 1991, Tilikum was involved in another drowning death of a trainer at a park in Canada.
Shortly after, the whale was sold to SeaWorld.
In 2010, Dawn Brancheau was dragged into the water by the orca during a post-show routin.
The woman bent over the tank’s edge to rub Tilikum when his behavior suddenly changed and he pulled her into the water by her ponytail.
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Harrowing scenes saw Dawn shaken and thrown about as terrified guests were frantically ushered out by staff.
According to reports, the 40-year-old was scalped and had her arm bitten off during the attack.
Dawn’s shocking death made headlines around the world, calling into question just how ethical keeping whales in captivity is -with much speculation focused on Tilikum’s treatment and life.
Many experts and former trainers believe Tilikum turned serial killer purely as a result of his traumatic time in captivity – with the landmark 2013 documentary Blackfish shining a light on longstanding concerns.
Tilikum died in 2017 after facing serious health issues, including a persistent and complicated bacterial lung infection.
His death came just a year after SeaWorld announced they were ending their breeding program following years of campaigners railing against them.
A SeaWorld spokesperson previously said: “Trainers have not been in the water training or performing with killer whales at SeaWorld since 2010.
“There have been no incidents as described in this article since these changes were made more than a decade ago.
“Our hundreds of veterinarians and care specialists provide world-class medical care.
“None of the killer whales in our care live a solitary life and they participate in positive reinforcement sessions daily, engaging in a range of different activities to ensure they receive plenty of physical and mental exercise.
“Additionally, the study of orcas in our care by our scientists and third-party organisations has directly informed the world’s knowledge of and ability to protect whales in the wild.”
The Sun has reached out to SeaWorld for further comment.