"But there is a bright spot in all of Tilikum's daily isolation, pain and suffering," Berg added. "Tili's legacy is the end of captive killer whales in the United States, and his suffering and subsequent actions because of that suffering may ultimately lead to the end of the marine animal display industry as we know it. Countless numbers of animals will not end up in captivity because of Tilikum."
Naomi Rose, a marine biologist and orca researcher with the Animal Welfare Institute, expressed a similar sentiment.
"His life has been grim, grim, grim, grim, grim," she told The Dodo. "He's inspiring in that he's catalyzed this amazing movement."
Despite the tragedy of Tilikum's life, and the human deaths he was involved in, his legacy is the inexpressible change he sparked for other animals - and, for those who knew him, his spirit.
"Although Tili never had a human voice to speak, his behavior spoke volumes," Berg noted. "I choose to remember him not as a broken spirit forced into a slave circus, but as a brave soul who expressed his truth in the only way he could given his abysmal circumstances."