The last killer whale to be born in captivity at Seaworld has passed away.
The three-month-old orca named Kyara was born in April at SeaWorld San Antonio to long-time aquarium resident Takara. The newborn calf's impending birth made history when SeaWorld officials announced they were closing down their orca breeding program, and the already-pregnant Takara would be the last killer whale to give birth in captivity.
Kyara's birth was live-streamed to the public via social media, and thousands of people watched the calf enter the world. The birth seemed to be normal, but SeaWorld later reported Kyara suffered from a kind of infection. According to the park, Kyara's health never recovered, and she died on Monday.
The exact cause of death is still unknown, but SeaWorld has released information stating the calf likely had pneumonia. They say the illness is common in both wild and captive-bred whales. As her health continued to decline, Kyara was taken away from her mother and treated at the aquarium's animal hospital. She was under 24-hour watch and was being hand-fed special nutrients.
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PETA and other animal advocates regret the fact that Kyara spent the entirety of her short life in a tank, and she never got the chance to swim in the ocean. PETA reported that Kyara is the 40th orca owned by SeaWorld to have died in captivity.
— PETA (@peta) July 24, 2017
SeaWorld's orca breeding program is no longer active, and they also plan to phase out their killer whale entertainment shows. These cuts are mostly due to backlash from the 2013 documentary, "Blackfish."
Kyara's life was short, but her death may bring even more change for the countless other wild animals still in captivity.
What do you think about Kyara's death? Let us know in the comments below.
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