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SAN ANTONIO - SeaWorld has welcomed its last baby killer whale.
The company announced in a news release that 25-year-old orca Takara gave birth to a calf at 2:33 p.m. CT Wednesday at SeaWorld San Antonio in Texas. Its gender "will be confirmed at a later date," the park said.
“This is an exciting and emotional day for us at SeaWorld, and we are all so proud to share this new killer whale calf with the world after a year and a half of planning and observing and providing all the special care,” Chris Bellows, vice president of zoological operations, said in a statement. “Takara is a great mom and immediately began bonding with and caring for her new baby. Every day, she inspires SeaWorld’s guests to learn more about and do more to protect animals in the wild. She is a true ambassador.”
Visitors soon will be able to see the calf with its mother "during select times," the park said.
Last year, SeaWorld said it would stop breeding killer whales and halt its orca shows by 2019 following protests by animal-rights groups, The Associated Press reported.