"It was decided by the higher ups that she would be moved to another park when she was just four and a half years old. To me it had never crossed my mind that they might be moving the baby from her mom," Hargrove said.
Below: John Hargrove continues to talk about Katina's (Kalina's mother) grief after the separation.
Katina is described as not an overly vocal whale, but after her calf's disappearance, "she stayed in the corner of the pool ... literally shaking and screaming."
SeaWorld's curator of zoological operations Chuck Tompkins responded, "We've never moved a calf from mom. ... We think they're probably dependent [at] 4 to 5 years. After that, they start to gain their dependence."
Plenty of research has shown the opposite. Calves, even through adulthood, will very often stay with their mothers in their pod for their whole lives because they are extremely family-based and social animals.
In fact, just on Oct. 3, Sooke Coastal Explorations saw a mother and son swimming together off the coast of Canada. The mother, Wakana, is 52 years old and her son, Rainy, is 37.