Kasatka, the 42-year-old matriarch of the orca family was euthanized at SeaWorld on Tuesday after losing her long battle with a lung disease. The killer whale was one of the last to be captured in the wild for the San Diego park; she is the second death at the marine parks in a month. The tragic announcement in a press release stated she “was surrounded by members of her pod, as well as the veterinarians and caretakers who loved her” when she died.
“We are saddened to share the passing of Kasatka today (August 15, 2017) at SeaWorld San Diego. Following lengthy treatment for a bacterial respiratory infection, or lung disease, Kasatka’s health and appetite significantly declined over the past several days, despite continually tailored treatments. Kasatka’s veterinarians, who are experts in marine animal medicine, and her caretakers made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize her to prevent compromising her quality of life.”
Kristi Burtis, an orca behaviorist spent years with Kasatka:
“Today, I lost a member of my family. I have spent the past several years with Kasatka and was truly blessed to be part of her life. Although I am heartbroken, I am grateful for the special time we had together and for the difference she has made for wild orcas by all that we have learned from her. I adored Kasatka and loved sharing her with millions of people. I will miss her very much.”
Less than a month ago, a three-month-old baby whale died in S; meaWorld’s park located in San Antonio after she succumbed to pneumonia. In March 2016, SeaWorld announced the end of its breeding program following years of criticism and pressure from animal advocates and animal rights organizations. Tilikum, the killer whale who accidentally killed his trainer, Dawn Brancheau in Orlando in 2010 by dragging her into the pool before a crowd full of visitors died in January from pneumonia.
The documentary ‘Blackfish’ published in 2013 brought more criticism to the breeding program. The organization has not brought in any wild orcas in 40 years; most were born in captivity. There are still 21 orcas in the United States – the youngest Amaya, was born in 2014.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) continue to call out the company and release all of the parks’ orcas to sea pens or coastal sanctuaries. The Animal Legal Defense Fund has alleged SeaWorld has avoided press coverage in order to conceal the declining health of the orca until Tuesday when she was euthanized.
(Photos via SeaWorld webpages)
Read previous coverage of the death of the baby orca here.
Rest in peace beautiful one. You will be missed and we are sorry you were not allowed to be free: