Activists blame life in captivity for baby orca's death at SeaWorld

Posted July 26, 2017

"She was surrounded by the dedicated teams that cared for her over the last three months and fought tirelessly for her over the last several days", the SeaWorld statement said.

A post-mortem examination is to be conducted, meaning the cause of death will most likely not be confirmed for a few weeks.

The decision to end the program came in response to intense scrutiny after the airing of a 2013 documentary "Blackfish", which claimed animal abuse occurred against orcas at SeaWorld parks. "As animal caregivers we dedicate our lives to these animals, and this loss will be felt throughout the entire SeaWorld family". She was separated from her mother, Takara, and placed in a tank at the animal hospital.

"Additionally, the team was hand-feeding her in an effort to ensure she received the nutrition she needed".

The cause of death is considered to be a pneumonia-like infection, which is common in both whales and dolphins - either wild or the ones kept in captivity.

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The three-month-old killer whale calf, Kyara, had been receiving treatment for an infection thought to be pneumonia, but she succumbed to the illness on Monday, SeaWorld announced on its website.

Kyara was the last orca born in captivity at the park after the company announced it would end its breeding program past year. In January 2017, a 36-year-old whale Tilikum died in captivity at the park.

For more details, see SeaWorld's statement on the baby orca.

Two of the deaths happened at SeaWorld Orlando, a man who trespassed into the park and Tilikum's trainer Dawn Brancheau who was killed in 2010.