The Curious Case of Daniel Dukes

Tili stamped

Today’s post by Voice of the Orcas includes horrifying testimony from former animal care handler Cynthia Payne.  The post is tragic enough in itself as Cynthia talks about heartbreaking stories surrounding Gudrun, Nyar and Gwen.  If you haven’t checked it out yet, it’s a must-read.

What stirred things even further was a comment posted by another former employee, KJ.  KJ describes more details about the night that Daniel Dukes, Tilikum’s second victim, was found dead on Tilikum’s back.  According to his comment, KJ says that there was a calf at the park during that time.  When there is a calf, there should be a minimum of FOUR night-watch trainers.

According to Sam Berg, another former trainer, the night watch trainers job is to take respirations on every animal twice an hour for 5 minutes.  Where were they?  How could they have missed a dead body in the pool all night?

People have questioned the circumstances of Duke’s death for a long time, but this only brings up the point even more.  Not one, but four, people in the area and NOBODY saw or heard anything?  It seems rather suspicious.

Those who were present at the time of Dawn’s death in 2010 stated that they could hear and see commotion from A pool, the opposite side of Shamu Stadium.  I find it hard to believe that anyone in the area could have missed what happened, much less all four.  Where were they?  SeaWorld has also maintained that there is no video surveillance that showed what happened. What about the Sky Tower camera?  Where was the security guard?  The guard is known to stop by the area every few hours to check on things.

Many have wondered how Dukes got into the pool.  Did he jump?  Was he pulled in?  SeaWorld report states that Dukes drowned, but there are so many questions left unanswered.  His body was dismembered, genitals removed.  Did that happen before or after his death?

It has been easy for SeaWorld to once again blame the victim here, especially since he is not here to defend himself.

We might never have the answers, but it does make you wonder.


11 thoughts on “The Curious Case of Daniel Dukes

  1. It’s about time someone FINALLY decided to come forward about the state of Daniel Dukes’ body. He wasn’t intact and just drowned/dead from hypothermia with Tilikum cradling his lifeless body and trying to “save him” like SeaWorld tried to state. I read that autopsy and I think it would be wise to post that autopsy report here for the world to see. I’m ill over how the media handled it. and how SeaWorld continues to deny that Daniel Dukes was injured or that this was an “attack” and denying Tilikum’s direct involvement.

    They bullied that poor boy’s family into not suing. Threatened them with a smear campaign. THAT is the SeaWorld way.

  2. this is what happens when u put an apex predator in a goldfish bowl on steriods and force them to do tricks and u treat it like a commodity instead of a intelligent being who can literally dismember u anytime it gets the notion. dont blame Tilly blame seaworld

  3. Since Seawork ILLEGALLY took Tilikum when he was a baby from Iceland, Iceland technically owns ALL 13 of the whales (including Tilikum) sired by him and or Seaworld should give Iceland all of its profits it made from these whales and ALSO give the whales back to that country.

    • Tilikum didn’t come to SeaWorld until after Sealand of the Pacific closed. He was not captured for SeaWorld and captures in Iceland were legal unfortunately.
      Now that he has been in captivity, Iceland government does not want him back in their waters for fear that he might carry diseases to harm the local orca population. He also no longer has most of his teeth due to them all being drilled down, so he would not be able to live successfully in the wild. The best case scenario for him and the other orcas at SeaWorld would be to retire to a sea pen where they no longer have to perform for food and are able to experience the natural ocean.

  4. Agree with oceanadvocate,fl. Tilikum is a 6 ton whale not a human. Most animals understand food, not murder charges. Humans conditioned the whale into what he has become. The whale certainly didn’t make the guy jump in the water. It is a tragedy, but mammals and animals have been misused and abused by people for profit for centuries. Sad state of affairs, the whales deserve better, but at this point the whale wouldn’t live in the wild and if folks would stay out of the water more than likely the whale wouldn’t hurt anyone.

  5. Pingback: SeaWorld’s Murderous Cover-up | Travel Deconstructed

  6. Hi,
    I have researched this topic and on numerous occasions the evidence shows that Daniel could not have fallen into the pool. He would have to climb a 3 metre plexiglass flights of stairs and removable barricades. Even that doesn’t get rid of the fact that there should have been 4 night watchers on because there was a calf present at the time. SeaWorld should be held responsible for the death of Daniel Dukes because obviously the park hadn’t been checked properly otherwise he would not have been able to dive into the orca tank. On the other hand. how was Daniel Dukes a homeless man able to enter the park. He must have broken in somehow to be able to afford to get into the park. Daniel also had a record of swimming with other animals in SeaWorld. Earlier that year he had to be kicked out of the park for swimming in the manatee’s tank illegally. The park trainers found a joint of marijuana in the clothes beside the manatee pool belonging to Daniel Dukes. In this case the death was not a drug supported death nor an alcohol so this leads me to a number of speculations. One being an act of suicide. The man being homeless, a record of possession and he had tried swimming in another tank previously. The other being an accident the man climbing to the stairs just to look and not to swim. Unfortunately falling in . So which seems more logical to you?
    Yours Truly.

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