Brancheau, a 40-year-old trainer at SeaWorld Orlando, was killed Feb. 24, 2010, when the 6-ton whale dragged her into the water by her ponytail, tossed her violently and drowned her before a horrified crowd.
Her siblings today recalled her love for the whale and said they know she'd want what's best for Tilikum, whom SeaWorld says is performing once again.
said on CBS's "The Early Show." "That's up to SeaWorld to decide what to do. If that's what's best for Tilikum, that's what we would want also."
"We know that she would want whatever is best for Tilly," another sister, Deborah Frogameni, said on NBC's "Today" show. "None of us here are marine animal experts. We don't know what's best for Tilly. We're going to leave that up to SeaWorld and her fellow trainers ... to make those decisions."
SeaWorld brought Tilikum back in front of the crowds Wednesday, saying in a statement that
performing is an important part of his "physical, social and mental enrichment." The marine park also outlined new safety measures: Metal guard rails have been installed to prevent trainers from being pulled into the pool, and trainers are being kept out of the water.
But the family would be concerned if trainers got back in the pool with killer whales.
"Those are Dawn's friends," Frogameni said on CBS. "That's her SeaWorld family. She cared about them. We're still close to them.
"But we're certainly not safety experts," she added. "And we really do leave that up to SeaWorld. We're pretty confident that they're going to take that into consideration and that obviously trainer safety is important, but that they're not going to do anything to put their trainers in peril."
As Brancheau's family signaled its approval of heightened safety steps, Marion Loverde said she's coped with her daughter's death over the past year by relying on the "support of our family and friends."
"It's been a tough year, but things are getting better," she said on CBS as the family discussed a foundation in Brancheau's memory. "That's why [with] this foundation, we can do something positive in her memory."
The family remembered Brancheau as a giving person who loved her job, animals, the environment and working with children.
"For a year, we've heard about the event," her sister Diane Gross said on CBS. "We're here today to tell you about our Dawn. She was the most inspirational, loving, joyous person you could have ever met."
"It was just a natural reaction," Frogameni said on NBC. "We knew we needed to do something good to preserve her legacy."
Brancheau had wanted to become a trainer since age 9, her family said, and the Dawn Brancheau Foundation will help young people realize their dreams.
"That was her goal in life, and she made it," her mother said on "Today." "That's why you dream big."