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The Orca Dilema: What To Do About Tilikum?

Some of you may have been watching the drama unfold since the death of long-time Seaworld trainer Dawn Brancheau. While that was certainly a tragedy, the incident begs the question, “What to do about Tilikum?” For those of you who may have missed all or part of the situation, we provide this recap:

The day of the attack, the orcas had been notedly uncooperative, as most orca experts not on the payroll of SeaWorld would attest. After the main show, Dawn was grabbed by Tilikum, an adult male orca (who had already killed two other people) while in captivity. Though as many as 85 people may have been involved in rescue efforts, Ms. Brancheau died from the attack. Initially, SeaWorld tried to play the incident off as an unfortunate accident in which the trainer slipped, fell into the pool and drowned. Only when one of the patrons who had witnessed the attack spoke up, did the truth of the matter surface.

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Corexit’s Foul Stench

We have been reporting (and reporting about) the dangers of Corexit since the beginning of its use in the BP Gulf Disaster. Amongst things that we at Protect The Ocean have noticed is that Corexit is detectable in significant concentrations within shoreline waters days ahead of the arrival of the oil itself, and in beach waters that show no sign of oil contamination. Corexit is lethal to fish fry within 96 hours (and the stuff has been in there a lot longer than 96 hours) at just 2.6 ppm, that’s a pretty serious concentration! The fact is that far lower concentrations have proven lethal on fish fry when the duration went to 2 weeks.

A local Channel 5 news station at the Gulf did some independent testing. They took samples of water that children were playing in, and found Corexit solvents in concentrations ranging from 16 ppm to well over 200 ppm. Needless to say, I wouldn’t want anything in (or from) those waters if it could be helped. There’s no doubt that employing Corexit to bury the oil beneath the surface (where they wouldn’t be forced to pay for cleaning it up) was their contingency plan in case of major catastrophic leak. There’s little doubt that they realized the potential ramifications of infusing the stuff at 133+ atmospheres of pressure in cold water. Read more