The Last Orca Born in Captivity Died at SeaWorld. Now, We Need to End Captivity For All Killer Whales.

After just three months of life, the Orca calf named Kyara died this week. According to a spokesperson at SeaWorld in San Antonio, she had some “very serious and progressive health issues over the last week.”

It was in March, 2016, that SeaWorld announced that it was ending its breeding program for orcas, meaning that the current orcas in SeaWorld would be the last generation in captivity. The announcement was made in partnership with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and signaled a growing shift in our views on captive cetaceans and other wild animals. 

About 16 months later, the last orca born in captivity at SeaWorld, died.

Death Of Kyara, 3 Months Old

Kyara was born in April of this year to her mom Takara, and had been receiving treatment for an infection, but her health declined rapidly over the past weekend. She probably died of pneumonia, although a post-mortem will establish for sure the cause of her death.

“Kyara had faced some very serious and progressive health issues over the last week that the animal care and veterinary teams had been aggressively treating,” SeaWorld said in a statement

Kyara was the last whale to be born under the breeding program, and was conceived before SeaWorld said it would stop this program.

SeaWorld has recently changed some of its procedures, including putting an end to orca games at its park in San Diego and planning to end them at other locations, such as San Antonio. But SeaWorld still has nearly two dozen killer whales between these two parks and its Orlando, Florida, location.

Are These Changes For Real?

Former SeaWord trainer John Hargrove had this to say, “I’m grateful Tiki’s calf only lived for 3 months in a concrete box deprived of all things natural. For Takara, my heart is broken in pieces.”

In January of this year, Seaward announced the death of Tilikum, the planet’s best-known killer whale.

Tilikum became a household name in 2013 thanks to the popularity of the documentary Blackfish, which gave audiences a critical look at SeaWorld and how miserable its killer whales seemed to be in captivity.

Measuring over 22 feet long and weighing in at approximately 12,5000 pounds, Tilikum had been the largest orca in captivity. He was estimated to be about 36 years-old.

The bottom line is that it should no longer be legal in the U.S. (or anywhere else) to keep these intelligent, highly social animals in enclosures the size of hot tubs. These are naturally social creatures who have been removed from their families and stripped of their ability to live in the wild, working in unison as a pack and caring for their young together.

Abusement Park

On July 24, PETA vice president Colleen O’Brien released a statement; “SeaWorld executives have dollar signs where their eyes should be.”

“Forty orcas have now died on SeaWorld’s watch,” O’Brien added. “It’s time for the abusement park to remove the remaining animals to seaside sanctuaries before the death toll hits 41.”

Speaking to the BBC, Dr. Naomi Rose agreed. Rose is a marine mammal scientist at the Animal Welfare Institute in Washington, D.C.

She describes orcas as the ants of the mammal world. “I think that orcas are more social than people are. I think their family lives are more important to them than they are for us,” she says.

“They cannot be isolated from friends and family because it will in fact cause problems for them. Socially, emotionally, psychologically, physically.”

Capturing orcas and holding them separately from their families is unnatural and wrong. And we still need actual proof that SeaWorld is changing its word and deciding to not breed killer whales in captivity.

Take Action

If you agree, please sign this petition to add your voice to the call to end killer whales in captivity, and ask your member of Congress to support the ORCA Act, introduced by Adam Schiff (D-CA) to phase out this horrible treatment of such amazing animals.


Photo Credit: Screenshot from YouTube video


Marie W
Marie Wabout a year ago

thank you for sharing

Margie F
Margie F1 years ago

Agree with M.M. Please can we not look after the others in captivity.

M. M
M. M1 years ago

RIP Kyara... you are finally free!

Misss D
Shari F1 years ago

Kyara’s suffering is over but the suffering of her mother Takara is even worse now and will only continue whilst she is forcibly kept in her tank – along with all the other captive killer whales. Another female orca, named Lolita, who lives in Miami Seaquarium, does not have her freedom either, and, if Palace Entertainments (Miami Seaquarium’s owners) have their way, she will die in the smallest tank in North America. There is a release plan for Lolita which takes everything into account including teaching her to hunt again, dive again and get used to the currents and open water again. There are adults still left in Lolita’s family who were alive at the time of her capture and would recognise her. Lolita still calls out to them in a unique orca dialect that only her family fully understands. Lolita was captured as a young calf, about 5 years old. She has been in the same tank for the past 40 years. If you would like to help, you can contact Palace Entertainments and ask them to release her. Their contact details are: Fernando Eiroa, President and CEO, c/o Palace Entertainment, 4590 MacArthur Blvd., Suite 400 Newport Beach, CA 92660, Email: You can also write to the company that owns Palace Entertainments: Sir George Buckley, Chairman Arle Capital Partners Ltd, 12 Charles II Street, London, SW1Y 4QU. Lots of interesting info on

Renee M
Renee M1 years ago

So sad for all of these beautiful creatures.

Lisa Sears
Lisa Sears1 years ago

Rest in well-deserved peace, sweet young baby. At least, you're the last that will have to suffer in that way (assuming SeaWorld San Antonio keeps their word.)

Lolli M
Lolli M1 years ago

Humans - stop breeding, interfering and trying to control everything, you are just disgusting. Let the animals live their life and breed like they normally do, you dont have to stick your nose in everything. It doesnt work that way, nature is way above you!

Panchali Yapa
Panchali Yapa1 years ago

Thank you

Naomi D
Naomi Dreyer1 years ago

Captivity is cruel.

Glennis W
Glennis W1 years ago

So sad and depressing release them all Thank you for caring and sharing