Killer Whale To Return To Iceland - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Killer Whale To Return To Iceland

Published November 26, 2013

Killer whale Tilikum, who might immigrate to Iceland in the nearest future, has killed three people and attacked its Icelandic trainer shortly after its capture in 1983.

Vísir.is reported recently that the Ministry of Fisheries had received a request for the killer whale Tilikum to be transferred to Icelandic sea after having spent decades in captivity at SeaWorld and other aquariums.

Tilikum was captured by the Icelandic coast in 1983 and kept at the Aquarium in Hafnarfjörður to begin with.

There, Sigfús Halldórsson began the animal’s training. Sigfús is now a computer scientist and lives in England, but remembers Tilikum very well.

Tilikum was being prepped for transport to Canada when Sigfús started training him and was the smallest one of three killer whales kept at the aquarium.

Sigfús fed Tilikum on herring and had failed a few attempts to lure the animal into another pool. Eventually, it was decided upon to move Tilikum with an overhead crane.

“I foolishly jumped into the pool to remove the rail between the two pools and he must have been mad about being separated from the other two killer whales because he caught me from behind and pulled me underwater. He tore a big piece from the back of my wetsuit but I managed somehow to get out of the pool,” Sigfús told Vísir.is

He added that apart from that incident, Tilikum was normally sweet-tempered. “He was my friend, I often put my arm into his mouth to scratch his tongue; he liked that. He was normally very sweet except for that one time he got angry.”

Tilikum was the star of the documentary Blackfish. He has killed three people, one was his trainer at SeaWorld, Dawn Branchau, whom Tilikum killed in the middle of a show in front of the audience.

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