SeaWorld in San Antonio has lost a killer whale, but this death has a bit more significance. 3-month-old Kyara had been experiencing an infection, and park veterinarians were working around the clock to keep her well and healthy. Despite their best efforts, however, they couldn’t prevent her from passing away.
“Kyara had a tremendous impact on the entire zoological team, not to mention all of the guests that had the chance to see her,” said San Antonio trainer Julie Sigman. “The heart and support that has gone into caring for her….has been amazing. As animal caregivers we dedicate our lives to these animals, and this loss will be felt throughout the entire SeaWorld family.”
A post-mortem examination will be done to determine what exactly caused the young orca to die.
Kyara was born to 26-year-old Takara last April. After years of pressure from animal rights activists to discontinue the orca breeding program, the company finally relented and announced in March 2016 that no more orcas would be bred in captivity. Kyara was conceived before this date, however, and orca pregnancy lasts twice as long as humans.
The announcement also came with plans to create “natural orca encounters” including natural habitats in lieu of the traditional tank-and-glass theatrical shows.