Last Killer Whale Born At SeaWorld

The last baby killer whale to be born at a SeaWorld theme park has made its debut. The announcement came as a result of animal rights protests over the company's orca program.

The last killer whale has been born in captivity at a SeaWorld park.

While SeaWorld announced in March 2016 that it would end its killer whale breeding program, Takara was already pregnant at the time of the announcement, according to the company.

The company said a year ago that it couldn't release its orcas into the wild because most were born and raised in captivity and "will likely die" if set free.

Pressure on SeaWorld mounted after the release of the 2013 documentary "Blackfish", which depicted the captivity and public exhibition of killer whales as inherently cruel.

Takara was already pregnant with the calf when the company announced it would cease breeding the animals a year ago. The typical gestation period for an orca whale is 18 months.

The baby orca has not received a name because SeaWorld veterinarians can not yet determine if the killer whale is a male or a female.

SeaWorld's chief zoological officer, Chris Dold, told The Associaetd Press that calf and mother were swimming calmly after a smooth labor.

As for how long fans have to see this calf grow up, SeaWorld says it has several killer whales in their 30s and one around the age of 50. This includes a commitment of $10 million in matching funds dedicated to killer whale research and the creation of a multi-million dollar partnership focused on ocean health, the leading concern for all killer whales and marine mammals. Everyday she inspires SeaWorld's guests to learn more about and do more to protect animals in the wild. SeaWorld will continue to care for the orcas and research them, minus the shows. Most of the whales now on display were born, and have lived their entire lives, in captivity at SeaWorld. In the near future, SeaWorld San Antonio plans to let visitors observe Takara, who's 25, as well as her calf.

"Throughout her life, Takara the orca has been artificially inseminated many times, separated from her mother and two of her children, and shuffled from theme park to theme park at SeaWorld's whim", PETA's statement said.

Takara, the matriarch of the orca pod, gave birth to the calf at 2:33 p.m. CST.

  • Todd Kelly