"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.
Former SeaWorld trainers have also spoken out against the park's claim. Dean Gommersall, a marine mammal trainer who worked at SeaWorld Orlando when Tilikum arrived at the park in 1992, shared two photos on Facebook purportedly showing Tilikum after his arrival at SeaWorld, and then in recent years. Tilikum, who can be identified in the earlier image by the unique double point on his eye patch, appears to have had healthy, pointed teeth when he arrived.