Birth date: 1979 (estimated)
Current Age: 31 (estimated)
Tilikum means friend in Chinook.
Offspring: Kyuquot, Taku, Unna, Sumar, Tuar, Tekoa, Nakai (AI), Kohana (AI), Ikaika, Skyla and Taima's 2007 calf.
Often misspelled 'Tillikum' or 'Tillicum'.
Note: Tilikum is my favorite of all whales, in every park. =D
History of Tilikum...
In November 1983, Tilikum was captured from Iceland. Two other orcas were also captured along with him, Samoa and Nandu. He was around 4 years old at the time. The young male lived at Sædyrasafnid, Iceland for a year or so.
Tilikum's first park was Sealand of the Pacific. There, he met Haida II and Nootka IV. He was the least dominant of them all. On February 21, 1991, a trainer named Katie Byrne slipped and fell into a pool. All three adult orcas were in the pool. Tilikum grabbed Byrne's leg and brought her down to the bottom of the pool. Though the other trainers tried to save Byrne, Nootka and Haida had joined in and drowned Byrne. The cause of this is probably because the orcas were not used to having humans in the water (they did not do waterworks at Sealand) and they were only trying to play with Byrne. On December 24, 1991, Haida gave birth to the first of Tilikum's many offspring. The calf was a male. Nootka played the part as "Auntie" at his birth. The calf was named Kyuquot. The trainers didn't allow Tilikum to be with his son because they thought that he might hurt Kyuquot. Marine Land of the Pacific lost a lot of publicity after the accident and the park was closed. Tilikum and Nootka were sent to SeaWorld Florida on January 9, 1992, while Haida and Kyuquot were sent to SeaWorld Texas. Other than that, Tilikum has never been moved to another park. He will probably stay at the Florida park as a permanent resident. On the morning of July 6, 1999, trainers discovered a dead man in Tilikum's pool. The man probably hid in the park while it closed and then jumped into the pool with the bull orca. It was found that the man had gotten hypothermia from the frigid waters and drowned. Though he had a few minor scrapes, there was not sign that Tilikum had attacked the stranger. Still, they decided that Tilikum would not be used for waterworks. Of course, it's not because he is aggressive, just that maybe Tilikum doesn't know his own strength. Tilikum is never allowed to be with any of his calved because of his massive size and the only whale he is usually with is Taima.
He currently is the father of ten! And that is not counting the miscarriages, stillborns and deaths. Tilikum is SeaWorld's main breeding male orca. He has been trained for artificial insemination (AI). Nakai and Kohana, two of his calves, were both conceived this way.
Tilikum is normally used in the splashing section of the shows. His tail splashes can reach the first 15 rows with his tail, getting everyone soaking wet.
Though his huge size is sometimes intimidating, Tilikum is really a very sweet orca, as his name indicates. He does not like to be alone for long and sometimes even whines for company.
His nicknames are "Tilly"(also my own nickname) and "Tilli".
How to tell who he is...
Tilikum is rather easy to identify because of his size. He is 22.5 ft long and weighs 12,300 lbs. This makes him the largest living captive orca.
His dorsal fin flops completely over to the left. It is estimated to be 6 ft. tall!
His large flukes are curled under. His pecs are about 5 ft in their length.
Tilikum's rostrum is very pronounced and quite small compared to the rest of him.
His eye patches are oval in shape. The left one has two small prongs over his eye, but it looks like one prong from a distance. It also has two spots along the top edge. And the right has a small scoop.