SeaWorld officials are preparing to welcome the last birth of an orca into its parks.
According to a statement Tuesday from the Orlando-based company, the calf will be born at SeaWorld San Antonio in the next four to six weeks.
SeaWorld says 25-year-old Takara, was already pregnant in 2016,when they annouced the end of their orca breeding program. SeaWorld and it’s breeding program came under fire after the release of 2013 low-budget documentary, ‘Blackfish’ aired on CNN. The film was based on one of it’s more famous killer whales or orcas named Tilikum(Tilly). Though Tilly was highly admired for his beauty and performance, the film concerned his captivity and involvement in the deaths of three individuals. The story prompted an outcry from animal activist and eventually encouraged SeaWorld to announce the end to breeding orcas in captivity. https://seaworldcares.com/2016/03/Breaking-News-The-Last-Generation-of-Orcas-at-SeaWorld/
Tamara, born in 1991, will give birth at the SeaWorld facilities in San Antonio, TX. Tamara is about 17-feet long and 4,700 pounds and currently has four other children. The company said the pregnancy came about naturally and the “suspected sire” is Kyuquot, the largest whale at SeaWorld San Antonio.
Many orcas will remain on display at SeaWorld parks in Orlando, San Diego and San Antonio. But the birth of Takara’s calf will be the last opportunity for visitors and scientists to see a baby orca up close, says a SeaWorld spokesman.
A research team from St Mary’s University in San Antonio will also be studying the social impact of calves and their social development on the killer whale population. SeaWorld officials say Takara, her birth and the calf will be monitored by a St. Mary’s University research team.