Years after Tilikum was made infamous for killing his trainer and brought into the spotlight with “Blackfish,” SeaWorld still continues to keep him in captivity. While no cetacean deserves to be kept in captivity, Tilikum stands out as both an example and a warning of what can happen when you keep wild animals locked in pools the size of a fish bowl, purely for the purpose of entertainment.

In the wild, killer whales are active, engaged, and incredibly social animals, but watching this disheartening display of what life spent in boredom and frustration can do to animals just further illustrates why these incredibly dynamic animals should not be kept in captivity.

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As Tilikum listlessly bobs up and down in his tank, moving his fins just enough to keep afloat, onlookers immediately assume he is “waving.” Tilikum is a prime example of how we do an injustice to animals by assigning our own wishing and expectations to them. We need to remember that Tilikum is this way because of years of living under unnatural circumstances, broken down both mentally and physically all for our sake. It is far past time that he is given the ample respect he deserves.