Breaking: SeaWorld’s Baby Orca Kyara is Dead

On April 19, 2017, SeaWorld San Antonio announced the birth of a baby orca to mom Takara. Now, three months later, she is dead.

Given that SeaWorld has ended its orca breeding program, the calf, Kyara, will be the last born at the park. The cause of her death, listed as July 24, 2017, has not yet been determined. According to SeaWorld, she was being treated for an infection, likely pneumonia, which progressed into a fatal disease.

According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, “…the chief cause of death in captive marine mammals (other than polar bears) is believed to be pneumonia. Most cases of marine mammal pneumonia have significant bacterial involvement, and most organisms cultured from terrestrial species have been identified in marine mammals. Pneumonia often can be considered the result of mismanagement, although even in carefully managed captive animals pneumonia-associated mortality is common.”

SeaWorld screen capture*Source: SeaWorld cares, 7/24/17

Kyara wasn’t the only orca battling an illness. Her grandmother, Kasatka, the matriarchal orca at SeaWorld San Diego was documented last month by a park visitor being lined up for the administration of medication. In August 2016, SeaWorld released information that Kasatka had been suffering from a bacterial respiratory infection. The park announced that the whale’s chronic health problems were finally taking their toll. Kasatka, they said, was “having a more difficult time fending off the illness,” due to a weakened immune system.

Kasatka receiving the medicated fish. Image: Copyright Elizabeth

Kasatka receiving the medicated fish. Image: Copyright Elizabeth

After years of profiting off the backs of their captive “entertainment,” it’s time SeaWorld put ethics over dollars. Yet despite SeaWorld’s changes to their orca displays, captivity will continue for the orcas currently being held in their tanks. None of the mammals will be given a proper retirement, nor will there be any seaside sanctuaries built.

Wild orca mom and baby, California

What SeaWorld’s orcas will never experience – Wild orca mom and baby, California.
Credit: Cynthia Fernandez

Featured image: Screen capture, SeaWorld Facebook Live Stream

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About Cara Sands

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It might be true that we don't recall many moments from our early years. However, Cara's first memory of a dolphin had her begging her parents to ask the trainer to let the dolphin go! The problem with captivity was evident to her, even as a 4 year-old child.

A writer by trade, Cara has researched, investigated and documented dolphins suffering in captivity. From documenting dolphins incarcerated in buildings, cut-off from fresh air, sunlight and normal socialization to researching cases of animals imprisoned in solitary confinement, Cara is a dedicated dolphin welfare advocate.

It is her belief that education equals empowerment. The more information shared, the better our choices and knowledge of how to act as a positive and respectful voice for dolphins across the world.

Cara is based out of Canada and makes time whenever possible to observe dolphins in their natural environments. She is writing her first fiction novel but knowing her, the marine world will play a prominent role in her book!

"The use of animals for entertainment is nothing more than an abuse of dominance. Some of the most sentient species on the planet have been exploited to incomprehensible levels, all due to their inherent benevolence. Ironic, considering that we turn to the abused themselves for displays of humanity."
~ Cara Sands

Author: Cara Sands
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