A killer whale calf that was the last to be born in captivity under SeaWorld’s now-shuttered orca-breeding program died Monday at the company’s San Antonio park.
Kyara, a 3-month-old orca calf who was born to mother Takara in April, came down with “very serious and progressive health issues” over the past week, SeaWorld said in a statement.
In the three days before her death, veterinarians spent day and night treating her for an infection, giving her antibiotics and hand-feeding her, the company added.
Although Kyara’s ailment was “likely pneumonia,” an official cause of death may not be available for several weeks, after a post-mortem exam is completed, SeaWorld said.
“Kyara had a tremendous impact on each of her care staff, not to mention all of the guests that had the chance to see her,” SeaWorld orca trainer Julie Sigman said in a statement.
“From late nights to early morning, rain or shine, we dedicate our lives to these animals, and this loss will be felt throughout the entire SeaWorld family.”
The company said Kyara’s mother, Takara, and the rest of their pod appeared to be behaving normally and did not show signs of illness.