Nakai is the first whale to be conceived through artificial insemination (a child of the Icelandic whales Kasatka and Tillikum) and was born head first, which is extremely rare in captive orca births. Nakai is very independent; at just 18 months old, trainers were able to separate Nakai from his mother to perform shows alone, uncommon for such a young orca. In September of 2012, Nakai sustained a traumatic injury that resulted in a massive loss of flesh, exposing the bone of his lower jaw. The details surrounding this injury remain a controversy. Nakai had some aggressive interactions with two of his tank mates prior to the injury; however, SeaWorld officially states the injury was due to a design flaw in the tank. As of January 2013 Nakai has returned to performing in shows.