Last Captive-Born Orca Dies at SeaWorld

Three-month-old baby orca Kyara died of pneumonia—the same illness that killed Tilikum in January.


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Three-month-old killer whale Kyara died Monday from pneumonia at the San Antonio location of SeaWorld. Kyara was the last orca born in captivity as the park agreed to end its orca-breeding program—after continued pressure from animal-rights organizations—in 2016. “Forty orcas have now died on SeaWorld’s watch,” People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ Vice President Colleen O’Brien said. “It’s time for the abusement park to move the remaining animals to seaside sanctuaries before the death toll hits 41.” Provocative documentary Blackfish was released in 2013 detailing the struggle of orca Tilikum—held at the Orlando location of SeaWorld until his death, also from pneumonia, in January. Since the film’s release, the park has experienced record drops in attendance, profits, and stock prices, and its executives are currently under federal investigation for underreporting the damages caused by Blackfish. Along with other marine animals, the park is still holding 22 orcas captive across its three locations in San Antonio, San Diego, and Orlando.