• Question: Why would a trained killer whale kill a human?

    Asked by bobo to Gioia, Iain, Jo, Leo, Mariam on 23 Jun 2010 in Categories: .
    • Photo: Mariam Orme

      Mariam Orme answered on 22 Jun 2010:

      I was really sad when I read about that killer whale killing its trainer in Orlando.
      I suppose that even when an animal like a killer whale has been trained, it’s still a wild animal at heart, and so we can’t really control it. Something must have triggered it to kill its trainer, but I don’t know what that would be.

    • Photo: Iain Moal

      Iain Moal answered on 23 Jun 2010:

      Because it was in a bad mood? They are wild animals, so can flip out at any time. Its just they way they are.

    • Photo: Leo Garcia

      Leo Garcia answered on 23 Jun 2010:

      Good question – whales are awesome so I enjoyed finding the information to answer your question!

      I’m guessing you’re thinking about the trainer killed by a whale in Florida recently. It’s still not clear how the trainer actually died – some people claim they saw her slip and fall into the pool and drown completely by accident. Other people claim the whale charged her, grabbed her in its mouth and shook her.

      Although the whale was used to being around humans and trained to perform we must remember that it is still a wild animal and unpredictable. A tank in a theme park isn’t a natural home for a whale and killer whales prefer to live in groups, not alone, so perhaps this environment was making the whale act unnaturally.

      According to the BBC a human has never been killed or badly hurt by a wild orca (although some have been threatened) whereas Tilly (the whale from Florida) has been linked to three human deaths so perhaps large, strong and intelligent creatures like whales just aren’t suitable for entertainment?

      P.S. The ‘killer’ part of their name refers to the fact that these whales are excellent hunters and very efficient at killing seals, walruses and even other whales to eat.

    • Photo: Joanna Watson

      Joanna Watson answered on 23 Jun 2010:

      I don’t think we really know because they can’t talk and tell us. It could just be an accident, killer whales are huge animals with really sharp teeth so any accident could be fatal. It could be the killer instinct kicking in or the whale might just be bored and fed up with being in a tiny tank instead of the sea. They’re only guesses though.