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Sea World’s Killer Whale Tilikum Still Fighting for Its Health

Sea World Orlando posted a video blog Tuesday saying that the health of one of their orcas is deteriorating.

A SeaWorld Orlando spokesperson gave an update on Monday on the health status of long time resident killer whale Tilikum, who was featured on CNN’s documentary “Black Fish.” Park officials said that Tilikum is still fighting for its health.

The orca was first reported in March with a bacterial lung infection and it was said the killer whale was about to die.

SeaWorld Orlando officials reported his condition through a video blog. The theme park said that 35-year-old Tilikum is suffering from what SeaWorld believes is a bacterial infection in his lungs which is proving difficult to treat. Veterinarians said the suspected bacteria is resistant to antibiotics, USA Today reported.

On Monday, Park officials said via e-mail: “Because he had some rough days over the past week, he is in the medical pool where trainers, care staff and veterinarians can monitor him around the clock and offer him the care and attention he deserves.”

Whale-themed shows at SeaWorld marine parks have been the subject of protests by animal rights organizations including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. PETA claims SeaWorld neglects their captive whales.

SeaWorld reported in March their plans to end the controversial killer whale shows by the end of 2019.

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration has filed multiple violations against the company. SeaWorld employees have been banned from entering the park’s tanks during live whale shows.

CNN’s 2013 documentary film “Blackfish” gave a “disturbing” portrayal of the lives of the orcas in SeaWorld, including Tilikum. The whale is known for killing his trainer during a performance in 2010.

After the film’s release, a campaign to boycott SeaWorld Entertainment properties was started, demanding the release of killer whales into the wild. Sea World has opposed this, saying the whales cannot sustain themselves.

Last year, SeaWorld said it will phase out the current whale show at its San Diego theme park and replace it with a new show focused on conservation “that highlights orcas’ natural behaviors.”

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