by Sarah Berry
Released in 2013, “Blackfish” made waves with its findings regarding the captivity of orcas, with a specific focus on SeaWorld and one of its killer whales, Tilikum, who has killed three individuals during his captivity.
Chronicling Tilikum’s journey, the documentary sheds light on the health effects of captivity on orcas, such as the collapsed dorsal fin, which is seen almost exclusively in captive orcas and the gnawing of concrete, which wears down their teeth.
As well, the film educates viewers about the methods used to train orcas, such as by withholding food; this method resulted in Tilikum being abused at Sealand by two other orcas, who were also denied food.
Since the film’s release, SeaWorld has denied many of the claims by filmmakers. Audiences, however, appear to have sided with the filmmakers as represented by SeaWorld’s continued drop in profits, most notably in 2015, when it reported a 84% drop in profits.