Takara, a 25-year-old killer whale at the San Antonio SeaWorld park, gave birth to the company’s last whale calf bred in captivity. In 2016, SeaWorld announced it has shut down its breeding program and that all killer whale shows will end by 2019.
Takara, an orca whale living in San Antonio, Texas, gave birth this week to SeaWorld’s final baby killer whale. Takara’s calf, the last to be born at a SeaWorld park, was greeted by veterinarians and trainers.
The 25-year-old whale was already pregnant last year when SeaWorld decided to stop its breeding program after the company came under heavy fire following the 2013 documentary “Blackfish.” After 18 months, Takara successfully gave birth to a two-meter-long calf whose sex has yet to be determined.
“Although this is the last killer whale birth at a SeaWorld park, our work to understand and protect this species will continue for decades to come,” Hendrik Nollens, Vice President of Veterinary Services for SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, said in the company’s statement.
Though the park intends to study the whales’ development under laboratory conditions, the organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has called for Takara and her calf’s release “to a seaside sanctuary, where they may someday be reunited with Takara’s mother, other children, and grandchildren.”