Procedures to change for whale in trainer death - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Procedures to change for whale in trainer death

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - The head trainer for SeaWorld says a whale that killed his trainer by dragging her underwater won't be isolated from other killer whales at the Orlando park.

Chuck Tompkins said Thursday that the whale named Tilikum plays an important role in the social group of eight whales who live at Shamu Stadium. He's the father of some whales and will continue to mate with other females.

SeaWorld says trainers will continue to interact with Tilikum but the procedures for doing so will change in the wake of trainer Dawn Brancheau's death.

The killer whale shows are on hold for now and Tompkins says they won't start again until trainers understand what happened to her.

Several people who knew a trainer killed at SeaWorld Orlando say she treated killer whales like her children and wouldn't want anything to happen to the one that dragged her into a pool and thrashed her around.

Tompkins even co-authored a book published last year about the lessons parents can learn from trainers who work with killer whales.

Brancheau's sister, Diane Gross, says that like children, the whales had personalities, and good days and bad days.

Tompkins says the park will change safety protocols as needed but he doesn't expect drastic changes.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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