Texas Hill Country News

Last Orca Calf To Be Born at SeaWorld Dies in San Antonio

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SeaWorld has announced on Monday, July 24, that the last killer whale which was born in captivity under the organization’s former orca-breeding program has died at their San Antonio, Texas, facility. Veterinarians had been treating the 3-month-old, named Kyara, for an infection, however, her health continued to decline. Via press release, the Orlando-based company identified, “Kyara had a tremendous impact on the entire zoological team, not to mention all of the guests that had the chance to see her.”

Further to this, San Antonio trainer Julie Sigman said, “The heart and support that has gone into caring for her throughout Takara’s pregnancy until today has been amazing. As animal caregivers, we dedicate our lives to these animals, and this loss will be felt throughout the entire SeaWorld family.” A post-mortem exam will be completed by a veterinary team in order to determine the cause of Kyara’s death, which SeaWorld has noted could take several weeks.

Last Orca Calf to be Born at SeaWorld Dies in San Antonio

Photo: Wikipedia

In response to the company’s statement, PETA vice president Colleen O’Brien released a statement late Monday evening, saying “SeaWorld executives have dollar signs where their eyes should be…Forty orcas have now died on SeaWorld’s watch. It’s time for the abusement park to move the remaining animals to seaside sanctuaries before the death toll hits 41.” After years of animal rights protests and pressure from public opinion, SeaWorld announced the end of its breeding program in the spring of 2016. It has not collected a wild orca in close to four decades, and therefore most of their species within these facilities have been born in captivity. Conceived prior to the sunset of this program, Kyara was born to 26-year-old Takara in April 2017. The gestation period for orcas can be up to 18 months.

Last Orca Calf to be Born at SeaWorld Dies in San Antonio

Photo: Pixabay

When public opinion had been swayed against the keeping of animals in captivity for entertainment, SeaWorld also announced that it would phase out its killer whale performances by 2019. With 22 orcas remaining in their care in America, the youngest of which was born in 2014, SeaWorld anticipates the orcas to remain on display and available for research for many years into the future, in their San Antonio facility, here in the Texas Hill Country, as well as their Orlando, and San Diego facilities. In place of its theatrical-style shows, the company has announced that it plans to introduce “natural orca encounters” as a new form of display.


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