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PETA and other international animal-advocacy organizations have sent a letter to SeaWorld CEO Joel K. Manby demanding the release of Tilikum’s necropsy (animal autopsy) and full clinical history results. The release of these records is required under the terms of the orca’s import permit from 1992, which stated that SeaWorld must submit the information to the National Marine Fisheries Service upon his death. Tilikum—the subject of the critically acclaimed documentary Blackfish—died in January of a reported bacterial lung infection after more than 30 years in captivity, but SeaWorld has yet to comply with this requirement.

A group of people standing next to a sign that says Tilikum memorial.

The animal-advocacy groups note that the permit’s conditions also apply to Tilikum’s progeny, including his granddaughter Kyara—who died of “suspected pneumonia” last month at only 3 months of age—and at least eight other offspring who are still alive and being used by SeaWorld.

This information is not only required but also essential for assessing the ill effects of captivity on orcas. Ticket sales are nosediving, and keeping these records secret will only cause the company to fall further out of favor with the public.

Forty orcas—including Kyara and Tilikum—have now died on SeaWorld’s watch, and the abusement park has been in free fall ever since the release of Blackfish. While orcas in the wild can travel up to 140 miles per day, those at SeaWorld are kept in tiny concrete tanks of chemically treated water, break and grind down their teeth—and suffer from infections—from gnawing on the pool gates and walls in frustration, and are given anti-anxiety drugs to manage stress-induced aggressive behavior.

What You Can Do

Help all the animals imprisoned by SeaWorld today by asking the company to establish a firm and rapid plan to release them into sanctuaries where they’ll be given some semblance of the natural life that they’ve been denied for so long.

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