3-Month-Old Orca Dies Suddenly At SeaWorld
She's the third baby animal to die at the parks this year.
A baby orca died at SeaWorld San Antonio on Monday, just three months after she was born.
SeaWorld said in a statement that the cause was likely pneumonia, though they wouldn't be sure until after an autopsy was performed.
Kyara, as she was known, was born to mom Takara in April, and is the third baby marine mammal to die at a SeaWorld park this year.
Earlier this year, marine mammal expert Naomi Rose told The Dodo that pneumonia is a common cause of death among captive marine mammals, and that the stress animals experience in captivity can make them more susceptible to illness.
As a Humane Society International report put it:
"Pathogens or injuries that the immune systems of wild orcas would successfully combat or manage may be fatal to captive orcas, due to chronic stress, psychological depression and even boredom."
Kyara made headlines when she was born because she was the last orca to be born at a SeaWorld park.
Last year SeaWorld announced in an agreement with the Humane Society of the United States that it would immediately stop its captive breeding program, making the current generation of orcas the last—and drawing much praise from animal lovers.
The death also comes on the heels of recent reports that Kasatka — Kyara's grandmother who lives in San Diego — is on the brink of death after being sick for months.
"Like so many captive orcas before her, Kyara died without the comfort of her mother or family," PETA said in a statement Monday night, referring to the fact that Kyara had been separated from the other orcas to prevent any chance of infection.