Kalia joins the ranks of several other SeaWorld orcas who have been bred at young ages -- an orca named Katina first became pregnant at SeaWorld San Diego at about six years old, while another named Takara gave birth to her first calf at age 11. Yet another, Kalina, gave birth to her first calf, Keet, when she was only seven. And an orca named Kohana was only eight when she had her first calf, Adan, and then birthed a second calf less than two years later (661 days). This short time between births is not natural, notes Ingrid Visser, founder and principal scientist at the Orca Research Trust.
"A female killer whale requires a 17 month gestation period, followed by a 3 year nursing period in which it must remain with its calf," Visser told The Dodo. "Thus, at a minimum, a female killer whale requires over four and a half years in order to effect a proper birth and nursing period. [It's] abhorrent, yet sadly typical of SeaWorld parks and the industry that they would breed this female so young and so soon after giving birth to a previous calf."