3-month-old Orca Dies at San Antonio SeaWorld

The last orca to be born in captivity at SeaWorld died Monday in San Antonio, the company announced. The three-month old calf, Kyara, was the last orca to be born at one of the parks after the breeding program was discontinued in March 2016. Kyara had been having health issues for the last week, SeaWorld said in a statement. A post-mortem exam will determine the official cause of death for the calf, but veterinarians suspect she developed an infection, likely pneumonia.Following Kyara's death, SeaWorld said it is focused on “continuing the care of the rest of the orca pod back at Shamu Stadium.” Kyara’s mother, Takara, is reportedly behaving normally.The company maintains Kyara's death was not a result of living in captivity. SeaWorld said pneumonia is "the most common cause of mortality and illness in whales in dolphins, both in the wild and in zoological facilities."Animal rights activists have long criticized SeaWorld’s practice of orcas at the parks. The 2013 documentary Blackfish added fuel to the fire, prompting changes in the company's procedures regarding the killer whales.Orca shows have completely stopped at the San Diego location, and are slated to end at all other SeaWorld parks, including San Antonio.The changes have not convinced animal rights activists such as John Hargrove, a former SeaWorld orca trainer who appeared in Blackfish. "I am grateful Tiki's calf only lived for 3 months in a concrete box deprived of all things natural," Hargrove tweeted. "For Takara, my heart is broken in pieces."  Continue reading...

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