ORLANDO, FLA. -- A new book hitting the shelves takes a look at the captivity of marine mammals in adventure parks, and the title is a strong indicator of where the narrative is headed.
"Death at SeaWorld: Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity," by David Kirby, examines the case of Tilikum, the killer whale that drowned trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010.
The book also checks into other episodes from the killer whale's past, including the case of a trespasser on SeaWorld property, found dead on Tilikum's back in 1993; and the death of a Canadian trainer in 1991.
Kirby's book examines the events surrounding the death of Brancheau, but doesn't begin or end there.
The book follows people who are anti-captivity activists, as well as the so-called "SeaWorld Four," a group of former trainers in the Orlando area who were either let go or who voluntarily severed ties to the adventure park.
It questions claims about the health and life-spans of captive killer whales, but notes that the issue of comparing the lives of wild and captive killer whales is a complicated one all by itself.
The book is missing one thing, however.
No person associated with SeaWorld Orlando is associated with the book, and Kirby notes that company officials turned down interview requests for the book.
All material from SeaWorld authorities, Kirby asserts, came from the public domain and from media interviews.
SeaWorld officials told reporters from Local6 Orlando that they had turned down Kirby for a host of reasons, including legal issues surrounding a recent federal citation and a sense that Kirby was not approaching the issue in good faith.