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A 3-month-old baby killer whale died Monday at a SeaWorld park in San Antonio, Texas, the park announced this week.
The baby, named Kyara, died after suffering serious health problems. She was born in April at the park, and veterinarians believe she died of pneumonia.
SeaWorld said it would provide more information when the results are in from a post-mortem exam. The whale’s veterinary team suspects pneumonia was the cause because it is “a common illness in whales in both the wild and captivity.”
“Kyara had a tremendous impact on the entire zoological team, not to mention all of the guests that had the chance to see her,” San Antonio trainer Julie Sigman said in a statement. “The heart and support that has gone into caring for her throughout Takara's pregnancy until today has been amazing. As animal caregivers we dedicate our lives to these animals, and this loss will be felt throughout the entire SeaWorld family.”
Kyara was the last orca whale to be born at a SeaWorld park. Her mother, Takara, was pregnant last year when the company announced in March that it would end its killer whale breeding program. Orca gestation can last up to 18 months.
Kyara had been under 24-hour watch and had been hand-fed to supplement her nutrition, the park said. She had been separated from her mother in order to receive veterinary care.
SeaWorld has not collected a wild orca in nearly 40 years, and most of its orcas were born in captivity.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.