SeaWorld trainers may go back in water with orcas - KMOV.com

SeaWorld trainers may go back in water with orcas

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A killer whale raises its head out of the water Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010, during the first show since an orca killed a trainer at the SeaWorld theme park in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, Pool) By Phelan Ebenhack A killer whale raises its head out of the water Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010, during the first show since an orca killed a trainer at the SeaWorld theme park in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, Pool) By Phelan Ebenhack
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- SeaWorld is hoping to get its trainers back in the water with killer whales, one year after a colleague died in an attack.
  
Chuck Tompkins is the curator of zoological operations for the SeaWorld parks in Orlando, San Diego and San Antonio. He says tens of millions of dollars are being spent on new safety features, including rising pool floors that can quickly lift whales and people out of the water.
  
Tompkins says officials have begun working with the whales to get them used to having humans in the water again. But he says there is no timetable for getting trainers back in the water for public shows.
  
Officials are moving carefully because a 6-ton orca named Tilikum suddenly dragged Orlando trainer Dawn Brancheau off a platform by the hair and drowned her last year.
  
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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