Published: Fri, August 18, 2017
Medicine | By Megan Pierce

SeaWorld Pays Tribute to Fallen Orca Highlighted in 'Blackfish' Documentary

SeaWorld Pays Tribute to Fallen Orca Highlighted in 'Blackfish' Documentary

SeaWorld San Diego now has 10 orcas.

SeaWorld announced on Tuesday that they euthanized a female orca whale at their park in San Diego after her health was steadily declining. She died at about 8:15 p.m., surrounded by caretakers and members of her pod, the park added.

Kasatka's death is the third orca death since January at the SeaWorld parks. "Kasatka's veterinarians and caretakers made the hard decision to humanely euthanise her to prevent compromising her quality of life".

The 42-year-old matriarch of SeaWorld's orca family died on Wednesday after a years-long battle with a lung disease, the park announced.

But SeaWorld say orcas born or raised in captivity would likely die in the wild.

The theme park made the decision to euthanise the mother of four six weeks after it was rumoured that she was on the brink of death.

One of the last killer whales to come to SeaWorld from the wild, Kasatka was captured near Iceland in 1978. "Although I am heartbroken, I am grateful for the special time we had together. and all we have learned from her".

And in July, Kyara, a 3-month-old orca that was the last born in captivity under SeaWorld's now-defunct orca-breeding program, died after suffering what veterinarians believed was pneumonia.

"Kasatka was being treated for a respiratory bacterial infection, or lung disease, for several years but as she aged she had a more hard time fending off the illness", the marine park said Tuesday in the statement.

The deaths of the mammals has led to further calls from animal rights campaigners for SeaWorld to release animals it now has in its care.

To help counter public concerns, SeaWorld announced previous year it was ending its captive breeding program and would phase out its theatrical orca shows. The abusement park didn't even respect this orca enough to give her a good-quality life, and it needs to send the remaining marine mammals to seaside sanctuaries before they follow Kasatka-and the 40 orcas before her-to the grave.

The decision was part of an agreement with the Humane Society of the United States amid public pressure that increased significantly after a male orca, Tilikum, killed a trainer in front of visitors at SeaWorld Orlando in 2010.

SeaWorld says it has 21 orcas left in the US plus several on loan to a theme park in Spain.

Dan Ashe, president and CEO of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, said: 'Nobody knows more about caring for killer whales than the professionals at SeaWorld.

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