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Blackfish: how captive killer whale documentary ended SeaWorld's orca breeding programme

By Laura Thomas-Walters, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Stirling
Diogo Veríssimo, Research Fellow in Conservation Marketing, University of Oxford
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After its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2013, the documentary Blackfish reached nearly 21 million viewers within its first month of airing on CNN. The film tells the bleak story of Tilikum, a performing orca at the US marine park SeaWorld.

After being taken from his mother in the wild at the age of two, Tilikum was held in a tank at SeaLand Canada with two larger females who routinely…

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