Mr. Brad Andrews
Vice President, Zoological Operations
Sea World, Inc.
7007 Sea World Drive
Orlando, Fl 32821-8097
May 7, 1992
Dear Mr. Andrews:
Officials of this Ministry and the Ministries for Foreign Affairs, Environment
and Agriculture, including the Chief Veterinary Officer and scientists at the
Marine Research Institute, have reviewed the question of whether it would be
feasible to return a killer whale, named Tilikum, to the Icelandic waters from
which the animal was collected in 1983.
The history of this killer whale and the best available scientific information
concerning the possible consequences of a return of the animal to its place of
collection have been carefully considered.
This Ministry, with the concurrence of other interested Ministries, has
concluded that the return of the killer whale, Tilikum, is not feasible. It is
evident the animal may carry diseases that are both undetectable and alien to
killer whales and other animal populations in Icelandic waters. Therefore, the
return of the animal would entail unquantifiable and unavoidable risks, which
we are not willing to accept. Furthermore, it is the view of the Icelandic
scientists that the survival of the animal in the wild would be highly
The factors that render the return of the killer whale, Tilikum, infeasible
would apply to other killer whales that have been maintained in captivity
outside of Iceland. Consequently, this Ministry and the other interested
Ministries have concluded that neither the return of this killer whale, nor the
return of others now in captivity, will be authorized.
We are pleased that you have consulted with Icelandic authorities on this
matter. We trust that our response fully and finally disposes of any questions
regarding the return of killer whales to their point of collection in Icelandic