inside seaworld

letter from iceland to seaworld

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 questionable.

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 waters.

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