JAN 29, 2019 7:04 PM PST

SeaWorld Orlando Loses 30-Year-Old Orca to Illness

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

In a rather sad turn of events, SeaWorld Orlando witnessed the passing of one of its oldest captive orca whales on Sunday. Kayla, a 30-year-old female, was the second-oldest orca ever born into captivity before she died.

According to SeaWorld officials, Kalya became ill for unknown reasons on Saturday. The park employed trained veterinarians to care for Kayla in an attempt to nurse her back to health, but her condition only deteriorated; she died the next day.

An orca at one of SeaWorld's facilities. (Kayla not pictured)

Image Credit: Pixabay

Attempting to remain positive on the matter, SeaWorld Orlando had this today:

"Although animal care specialists and veterinarians devoted around the clock attention to Kayla, she did not survive. While today is a difficult day for all of us at SeaWorld, Kayla inspired generations of guests and employees to care and learn more about this amazing species."

Related: Listen to a killer whale say 'Hello'

Two days later, SeaWorld Orlando still doesn’t know the official cause of Kayla’s death, and the details surrounding her sudden medical condition remain hazy. The park is planning a full-scale post-mortem examination, a move that will hopefully shed some light on the matter.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, animal activist groups like PETA are furious about Kayla’s death. PETA has gone as far as to call SeaWorld an “abusement park” rather than an amusement park in one of its public Tweets, noting that “no orca should ever have to live like this” with an apparent reference to captive living:

Kayla wasn’t the first captive orca to die in SeaWorld’s care, and she probably won’t be the last. Just two years ago, an infamous orca by the name of Tilikum died after succumbing to a lung infection. One year before, an orca by the name of Morgan beached herself during a live performance in front of an audience.

SeaWorld agreed previously to stop breeding orca whales in captivity, but the company is thought to have at least 20 captive orcas living in its host of amusement parks today. Those still in captivity are grandfathered into the company’s traditions, which won’t stop until one of two things happens: 1) SeaWorld changes its tune and releases the creatures, or 2) all the animals die in captivity.

Related: The last orca has been born into captivity at SeaWorld

Orca whales have a life expectancy of 50+ years in the wild, so it’d be an understatement to say that Kayla died at a young age for her kind. Some have suggested that the captive lifestyle depresses and stresses orcas, whereas the open waters of the wild provide these large and majestic marine animals with the freedom and space they need to avert these complications.

It will be interesting to see what SeaWorld says after discovering the cause of death. The company has a lot to answer for, especially concerning all the outrage sparked among park-goers and animal activists.

Source: BBC, People, PETA

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
DEC 02, 2019
Plants & Animals
DEC 02, 2019
Do Tortoises Enjoy Being Touched by People?
Tortoises are one of nature’s most conspicuous animals – large reptiles that carry massive shells that protect their sluggish bodies from damag...
DEC 10, 2019
Earth & The Environment
DEC 10, 2019
NOAA Unveils Florida Keys Reef Restoration Program
Earlier this week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced "Mission: Iconic Reefs"—a new strategy to restore a...
DEC 30, 2019
Plants & Animals
DEC 30, 2019
Are Blue Animals Truly Blue?
Animals come in all sorts of colors, and while the animal kingdom has most of the rainbow’s colors at its disposal, there are a few exceptions. Some...
JAN 10, 2020
Health & Medicine
JAN 10, 2020
Are Edibles the Safest Option for Marijuana Users?
Cannabis edibles are growing in popularity, while cannabis products become more widely accepted across the country and beyond. However, it looks like scien...
JAN 12, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 12, 2020
Diego the Giant Tortoise Returning to Wild After Saving His Species
One would witness a plethora of exotic animals upon visiting the renowned Galápagos Islands, one of which might be the Galápagos giant tortoi...
FEB 12, 2020
Earth & The Environment
FEB 12, 2020
Urban Heat-Islands Mistakenly Signal Spring to Trees
Have you noticed trees and other vegetation in your city turning green earlier than usual? A new study from Iowa State University has shown that urban land...
Loading Comments...