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article imageDocuments reveal date of Tilikum's capture

By Elizabeth Batt     Aug 12, 2013 in Environment
Tilikum, SeaWorld's prime bull orca was captured off the coast of Iceland in November 1983. Now newly released documents finally pin down Tilikum's capture date and his exact location at the time of capture.
According to the documents published at, Tilikum was captured November 9th, 1983, close to Djúpivogur off the east coast of Iceland.
The exact coordinates detailed in an Icelandic progress report to the International Whaling Commission (IWC), listed the bull orca's capture at 64° 39'N, 14° 14'W. He measured 4.2 meters long.
Less than one week later on November 14, 1983, two other killer whales were captured. Samoa, a female and Nandu, another male, were taken South West of Papey at 64° 26'N, 14° 20'W. Samoa was listed as 4m long at the time of capture; Nandu was 3.5m long.
Caught for captivity
Where Tilikum was captured according to coordinates.
Where Tilikum was captured according to coordinates.
Google Maps
Tilikum was sent to live at Sealand of the Pacific in Canada. It was here that he played a role in the killing of trainer, Keltie Byrne. After Byrne's death, Sealand closed its doors and Tilikum was moved to SeaWorld Orlando, Florida, on January 9, 1992.
The large whale, now estimated to measure 22.5 feet (6.9 m) long, has resided in Orlando ever since. During his tenure at SeaWorld, Tilikum was implicated in the death of drifter, Daniel Dukes, and was directly responsible for the death of trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010.
All three whales were held at Saedyrasafnid Aquarium prior to transfer. Samoa and Nandu were sold to Acuarama, a Brazilian aquarium. In May 1989, Samoa was sold and transferred to SeaWorld Ohio, before being moved to SeaWorld Texas October 1990 .
Samoa mated with an Icelandic killer whale named Kotar at SeaWorld and died from what was believed to be complications of giving birth. Others have argued that what killed Samoa was actually a fungal disease.
The young whale, estimated at 12-14 years old, went into premature labor on March 14, 1992. She lived for less than nine years in captivity and died giving birth. Her calf was also stillborn.
Nandu survived less than five years in captivity. In 1988, he was found deceased in his tank, Samoa by his side; his subsequent autopsy revealed an ulcer and liver tumor.
More about Tilikum, dawn brancheau and tilikum, Seaworld, date tilikum was captured, seaworld orcas
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