"Animals are real, sensitive to the touch, and they can feel all those things," Brancheau explains as she demonstrates her practice of rubbing the whale. Brancheau was rubbing the whale's nose when he turned on her and dragged her to her death.
Here are 6 theories of why the whale may have killed Brancheau. #3 is:
He was feeling sexualNow, obviously, I don't know the extent to which the woman and the whale had a sexual relationship. I don't know it either from her perspective or the whale's. But the whale is an intelligent creature with feelings and in need of relationships, and the woman — if we listen to her own words — believed that she was providing a relationship. But think of it from the whale's perspective. Imagine the whale's sexuality. Imagine the frustration, tension, and deep longings.
[Whale expert] Nancy Black has also said it might have been a hormonal outburst from the killer whale. The killer whale was often isolated and encouraged to breed.
"He was used a lot [by SeaWorld] for mating and could have even been enacting a mating behavior during the incident," said Black.
No, you can't get that far trying to imagine how the whale felt. Animals are real, sensitive to the touch, and they can feel all those things. What things?! We don't really know. And yet we use them, for our purposes, which they cannot possibly understand. We imagine that we provide them love and companionship and touching. But we must know that even if a human being could fully grasp what the whale felt, she could never give him what he really needs.
***The whale's name? Tilikum: 'Til I come.