APNewsBreak: Baby orca! Last killer whale born at SeaWorld

  • APNewsBreak: Baby orca! Last killer whale born at SeaWorld

APNewsBreak: Baby orca! Last killer whale born at SeaWorld

Backlash over the treatment of the animals and the conditions at the park led the company to scrap its orca breeding program at its 12 parks a year ago when they announced that the orcas at the park would be the "last generation".

The baby was born to the 25-year-old matriarch of the San Antonio resort's orca pod, Takara, on Wednesday afternoon. Central Time, April 19, 2017, at SeaWorld San Antonio. Right now, they are under constant surveillance by a team of veterinarians and animal care specialists.

SeaWorld announced that its last baby orca was born at its San Antonio park on Wednesday, marking an end to its breeding program.

"PETA is calling on SeaWorld to spare (Takara's) fifth calf a lifetime of suffering in prison by retiring both mother and child to a seaside sanctuary, where the baby may someday be reunited with Takara's mother, other children, and grandchildren", the organization said in a statement Wednesday. SeaWorld said Takara is a great mom and is already bonding with her new baby.

For many animal rights activists, the move was not enough. "She is a true ambassador", Bellows continued.

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Julie Sigman, an Assistant Curator at SeaWorld San Antonio who has been with Takara through three of her last pregnancies and births, expressed her excitement at watching the calf surface to take its first breath. And the infant calf is JUST as adorable as you'd think. She knows exactly what to do. Two are with her in San Diego, one is in Orlando and another is on loan to a theme park in Spain.

The orca's birth in San Antonio, Texas, follows a decision in 2016 by the Florida-based company to stop breeding killer whales.

The calf was born after an 18-month gestation and is estimated to weigh between 300 and 350 pounds (136 and 159 kg) and measure between 6 and 7 feet (1.8 to 2.1 meters), SeaWorld said.

Researchers are now able to study how a baby orca reacts around siblings because two of Takara's other calves are also housed at the San Antonio theme park. "We love these killer whales". One looks at toxin transfer in milk when babies nurse and another will help evaluate body shape changes to understand nutritional conditions for free-ranging killer whales. "Mom generally will rest but she can't rest too much". SeaWorld has not collected a wild orca in almost 40 years, and most of its orcas were born in captivity. SeaWorld has committed $50 million over the next five years to be the world's leading marine animal rescue organization, advocating for wild animals and protecting our oceans. "It's a tempered celebration only because we're focused on the health of these guys", Dold added.