SeaWorld San Antonio welcomed an orca calf on Wednesday April 19, 2017 afternoon, the last to be born at a SeaWorld park. SeaWorld didn't immediately name the calf because the park's veterinarians had not yet determined whether it was male or female.
Takara was already pregnant with the calf when the company announced it would cease breeding the animals past year. For killer whales, the gestation period is actually between 17 and 18 months. SeaWorld says both mother and baby are well and that there are no plans for separating them. "We love these killer whales".More news: Starving Striking Palestinian Prisoners leader put in isolation
As NPR's Greg Allen has reported, SeaWorld's treatment of its orcas came under scrutiny with the release of the 2013 documentary Blackfish. "It's a tempered celebration only because we're focused on the health of these guys", Dold added. That film profiled one of its whales, Tilikum, who has been involved in the deaths of three people, including SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010. Takara, the 25-year-old matriarch of the orca pod, gave birth to the calf at 2:33 p.m. "Natural orca encounters" will soon be offered at the parks instead of the once highly popular killer whale shows.
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. The San Diego SeaWorld plans to open an educational whale attraction in a remodeled pool this summer.
Spokeswoman Suzanne Pelisson Beasley said birth control and "social management" would prevent future orca breeding.More news: How Trump's 'Buy American' order could play out
Last March, SeaWorld President Joel Manby said this would be "the last generation of orcas in our care".
About SeaWorld Parks & EntertainmentSeaWorld Parks & Entertainment? is a leading theme park and entertainment company providing experiences that matter and inspiring guests to protect animals and the wild wonders of our world. It brings SeaWorld's orca population in the U.S.to 23. Two of her other offspring remain at the San Antonio park, while one lives at SeaWorld Orlando and another has been loaned to a park in Tenerife, Spain.More news: The race to be Iran's next president kicks off
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