Newborn orca is the last for SeaWorld

Saturday, 22 April 2017, 01:36:24 AM. Mom Takara was expecting when theme park said it would no longer breed whales.
The last orca has been born in captivity at a SeaWorld park in San Antonio, Texas, just over a year after the theme park decided to stop breeding orcas following animal rights protests and declining ticket sales. The orca — the last in a generation of whales bred in confinement — was born Wednesday afternoon to 25-year-old Takara. SeaWorld did not immediately name the calf because the park’s veterinarians had not yet determined whether it was male or female. “Takara will continuously swim with her calf as it begins to nurse and learn,” said Julie Sigman, an assistant curator. “We take our lead from mom, Takara will let us know when she is ready for us to meet the calf and at that time we should be able to determine the gender.” Takara was pregnant when SeaWorld announced in March 2016 that it would no longer breed its orcas. Orcas are pregnant for about 18 months. Chris Dold, SeaWorld’s chief zoological officer, said that he expected the birth to be both happy and sad, the last such event at any of the parks. But hours after Wednesday’s birth, Dold said the staff felt only celebratory. Trainers work with killer whales Trua, front, Kayla, center, and Nalani during a 2011 show at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida. The SeaWorld parks are phasing out its world-famous killer whale performances by 2019. (Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP) “These are extraordinary moments,” he said. SeaWorld decided to stop breeding orcas and phase out its world-famous killer whale performances by 2019, after...Read more
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