But several former orca trainers say that SeaWorld is lying and is solely responsible for what the park itself describes as Tilikum's "chronic teeth issues."
"It's preposterous that Kelly Flaherty-Clark would say that Tilikum's teeth were in much the same condition when he arrived in Orlando," former orca trainer Steve Huxter, who worked with Tilikum at Sealand of the Pacific before the park closed down in the early 1990s, told The Dodo. "Tilikum's teeth were in perfect condition when he was transferred [to SeaWorld] in 1992."
Huxter also said that Flaherty Clark should know this, as she spent four to six weeks working with Huxter at Sealand. "Kelly was at Sealand prior to Tilikum's transfer, to work with me and my staff in preparing the killer whales for transfer," he said. SeaWorld did not respond to a request for comment.