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The last orca calf born in captivity at SeaWorld has died

26 July 2017

SeaWorld San Antonio's three-month-old orca whale calf Kyara died Monday of apparent pneumonia, the theme park announced. A SeaWorld news release says veterinarians were treating the calf for an infection last weekend, but Kyara's health continued to decline. "From late nights to early morning, rain or shine, we dedicate our lives to these animals, and this loss will be felt throughout the entire SeaWorld family".

The company further noted that pneumonia is "one of the most common causes of morbidity and illness" in whales and dolphins - both in the wild and in captivity.

As per the recreation center, the whale's ailment was not caused by being in imprisonment. She had been under 24-hour watch and had been hand fed to supplement her nutrition, according to SeaWorld. Kyara's mother, Takara, was pregnant at the time of the announcement. The company announced in 2016 that it was shutting down the breeding program and that the current generation of orcas would be the last to live at the park.

In an 840-word statement posted on its SeaWorldCares site, the Orlando-based company said Kyara was being treated for an infection.

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SeaWorld welcomed Kyara into the world in April, heralding the calf's birth to 25-year-old Takara as "an exciting and emotional day for us".

The plan is for their performances to be phased out by 2019, with a program of more "natural orca encounters" for guests, going forward.

Kyara died surrounded by SeaWorld staff.

The park came under increased scrutiny after the documentary "Blackfish" featured Tilikum, who killed a trainer in 2010.

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The last orca calf born in captivity at SeaWorld has died