Tilikum, whale that killed trainer Dawn Brancheau, returns to SeaWorld show

10:33 AM, Mar 31, 2011   |    comments
SeaWorld Orca Tilikum is seen swimming in his tank shortly after a trainer was killed.
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ORLANDO, Florida (AP) -- The killer whale that drowned a trainer at Orlando's SeaWorld facility last year is slated to perform for the first time since the incident.

SeaWorld officials say Tilikum will participate in the park's "Believe" show beginning Wednesday morning.

Tilikum drowned 40-year-old Dawn Brancheau on Feb. 24, 2010, and has not participated in a show since then, while park officials are spending millions making safety upgrades.

PICTURES: Killer whale immediately after SeaWorld trainer attack

Plans to get trainers back in the water with the whales progressed earlier this month despite findings last summer by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration that accused SeaWorld of recklessly putting trainers in danger.

SeaWorld Animal Training Curator Kelly Flaherty Clark says they "feel it is an important component of (Tilikum's) physical, social and mental enrichment" to again perform.

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(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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