Tilikum died on 6 January 2017. He was 36. He spent most of his life in tanks that consisted of 0.00001% of his natural habitat. He was fed only processed and frozen fish. He performed tricks each day to the rapturous applause of folks like my brothers and I. SeaWorld released an almost laughable statement claiming that he had lived an 'enriching life'.
There are few more distressing sights than the body of a dying whale being rolled around in powerful surf. Sadly, in the last few weeks, we have witnessed just this as a number of magnificent sperm whales have stranded on North Sea coasts. Not surprisingly, questions are being asked about why this happened, and also whether we could have helped them.
It's a New Year, and it's always at this time that people like me get all pensive - thinking about the year just gone and the year ahead. Although many will be thinking of a host of resolutions and changes, new jobs, new diet and the like, for me and many like me my thoughts always relate to animals...
So many times I have seen where charities, groups and movements fighting the same cause, wanting identical results refuse to pull together through differing opinions, politics and egos, but sadly, no matter what the issue, unless we can unite for what we are fighting for, world leaders and governments will always have the upper hand.
Together with 11 other conservation and welfare organisations, HSI recently launched a petition urging the UK government to do just this. If you care about the whales and you are a UK citizen or live in the UK, please sign and share the petition to get your voice heard.
The undoubted highlight of my recent summer filming whales in California for the BBC, was the moment we captured a blue whale live on camera for the very first time... If we want humpbacks lunge feeding and breaching off our coast, we need their food fish back in huge quantities, and that will only happen with protection; which ultimately benefits EVERYONE, including fishermen and fish eaters... So what can we as Brits do, to make our blue spaces better places? Here's my top suggestions.