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Death Toll Rises At SeaWorld. Original Baby Shamu, Kalina is 4th Orca Casualty This Year

October 5, 2010

Sad news out of Orlando this morning as another orca has died in captivity. 25-year-old Kalina, who was dubbed the “Original Baby Shamu” was the first Killer Whale born and raised in captivity at SeaWorld Parks (see a video of her birth below, and an update on the cause of death at the end). The female orca died suddenly after experiencing problems yesterday afternoon. Kalina”s death brings the number of orcas to die in captivity at SeaWorld parks to 4 in just the past 4 months.  SeaWorld San Diego lost 12 yr old Sumar in September and the Orlando  marine park saw the untimely death of 20-year-old Taima and her stillborn calf in June.   Channel 6 News in Orlando reports on this latest tragedy:

“She began exhibiting signs of discomfort Monday afternoon and died suddenly in the evening,” according to a park statement. Kalina has delivered four calves at SeaWorld parks.

Sumar being prepared for removal

Since the tragic death of Dawn Brancheau in February, Kalinas’ death is just the latest in a long line of controversy and heartache coming out of SeaWorld. Last month, Sumar a 12-year-old male orca died at SeaWorld San Diego. Images of his body being lifted from his pool brought shock and sadness to many. From San Diego Union-Tribune: Full Story: Click Here

Some conservationists said SeaWorld’s ill fortune this year underscores long-standing questions about whether large pools at entertainment parks provide a healthy environment for creatures that cruise the world’s oceans:

“Sumar was 12. That is not a long life — not for a wild orca. Was it a happy or fulfilled life? Not from our perspective,” said Courtney Vail, a campaign director for Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, an international nonprofit group.

SeaWorld officials have long rejected such notions, saying they provide top medical care, high-quality food and a stimulating environment for killer whales.

“The loss of Sumar today is not related to him being a whale in a zoological environment like ours,” said David Koontz, a spokesman for SeaWorld San Diego. “There is no other marine-life organization in the world that is more committed to the care of their animals.”

*Click here to see raw video of Sumar while he was being taken out of the medical pool as his longtime friend, Corky, looks on.

Taima- Courtesy OrcaHome

One has to question the exceptional care that is being provided by these marine parks given the alarming frequency of premature deaths. In June, Sumar’s mother Taima, who was pregnant with her 4th calf died during childbirth. Her calf did not survive. The LA Times Reports: Full Story: Click Here

Taima, a 20-year-old orca at SeaWorld Orlando, died Sunday at the park while in labor with a stillborn calf. Taima’s calf was fathered by Tilikum, the orca who killed trainer Dawn Brancheau in February. Dr. Chris Dold, SeaWorld’s vice president of veterinary services, told the Orlando Sentinel that the calf was in an unusual position in the birth canal and that Taima’s labor was further complicated by the fact that she delivered the placenta before the calf. “She was not able to deliver the stillborn fetus naturally; SeaWorld’s veterinarians attempted to assist, but her complications were too severe,” the park said in a statement about Taima’s death.

Kalina’s teeth

Last month, The Orca Project reported on the possible link between poor oral health of orcas and their early deaths. The condition of Kalina’s teeth does not seem to be an exception. These photos show that she suffered from many of the same teeth afflictions as many other orcas in captivity, alive and dead.

  • In the wild, male orcas live an average of 30+ yrs and females 50+ yrs (many can live well into their 80s or 90s) and they do not to suffer the same oral degradation seen in captive orcas.
  • In captivity; orcas rarely make it out of their teens and most suffer from extremely poor dentition as we have presented here.

Today’s news is strong evidence which  illustrates the cruel and detrimental effects of orcas in confinement. This unnatural environment almost always results in early death. It’s well past time for the marine parks and their fans to rethink how we treat these amazing, intelligent mammals.

Kalina, who was born at SeaWorld Orlando on Sept. 26, 1985, was the first killer whale successfully born in captivity. Watch a video of Kalina’s birth:

-

Update:  Since the article was written we now know Kalina died of Bacterial Septicemia. Translated; it is a systemic inflammatory response to a severe infection. Or in other words, blood poisoning.
Causes of Septicemia include:
•Wound infection
•Surgical infection
•Tooth abscess
•Gall bladder infection
•Appendicitis
•Burns
•Abscess

She didn’t die of a Gall Bladder Infection, Appendicitis, or burns. Did she have some (minor) surgical procedure or other wounds SeaWorld didn’t share with the world? Perhaps. But the fact is, she died of a blood infection which leaves only two causes: 1) A partial miscarriage, missed miscarriage or 2) A tooth abscess as the cause of death. Infections of the mouth or teeth, when untreated by antibiotics, cause septicemia. She has had a history of poor oral health that is well documented, many fractured teeth as well as those that were manually drilled. The blood infection was treatable and her death preventable. However, she has most assuredly been treated with antibiotics so often over her lifetime and up to a point where they were ineffective. Antibiotics are rendered useless if they are over used. The same way they are ineffective with humans after prolonged usage.

Does this constitute “superior care” that SeaWorld professes to give? Tell us what you think.

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51 Comments leave one →
  1. February 23, 2014 5:22 pm

    It’s actually a nice and helpful piece of info. I’m happy
    that you just sharted this useful info with us. Please keep us up too date lke
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  2. Bianca permalink
    February 11, 2014 9:26 am

    No matter what those captivity institutions say no orca ever EVER! belongs in captivity, they were born in the wild and thats were they thrive. That fact speaks for itself when you see how short their life is in captivity.

  3. Lyndi Chapman permalink
    January 29, 2014 3:59 pm

    Kidnapping an orca or dolphin from its family in the ocean for a lifetime of captivity in a concrete pool is criminal.

  4. Mellow victor permalink
    November 14, 2013 5:13 pm

    This is awful! Sadly I will not take my 3yr old daughter to see these poor whales being held in captive. I have just educated myself about these whales from watching “black fish” which is a documentary. I am someone who knew nothing about these orca’s & the short lives that they live while being captive. After watching “black fish” I am we’ll aware of the company sea world & the secrets that they hide just to make more money. I encourage everyone to watch this documentary. I now want to help fight for these orca’s to get back to living long healthy lives out in the wild, were they belong.

  5. jen permalink
    November 6, 2013 9:13 pm

    My kids and I go to seaward monthly and love it!!! I hope if u hate seaworld so much then you hate disney and zoos and circus’ as well. Oh and if u have a pet yea they are held captive as well

    • Katie permalink
      November 6, 2013 10:36 pm

      Jen, your ignorance is only surpassed by your stupidity. You go to SeaWorld every month?? From your comment about zoos and circuses (and you can add rodeos, bull fighting, horse and dog racing etc. etc. to that list) you are obviously aware that there IS a problem with zoos and circuses and you’ve clumped them all together (which is correct) yet you fail to see, or chose to ignore, that which is inherently wrong with putting wild marine life in tiny concrete ‘cages’ and forcing them to perform. I would suggest you educate yourself about the realities of life for these unfortunate and highly intelligent animals, who, in the wild, travel thousands of kilometres every year and live in complex social groups. Can you imagine how soul destroying it is for an animal like Tilikum to have been taken from his family and transported to SeaWorld to live a life of isolation, frustration and boredom. There is a reason he has killed three people. It wasn’t just a series of unfortunate accidents. Ex SeaWorld trainers (who have seen the light) believe Tilikum (and many others) has gone insane from being confined and having lost his family. There has NEVER been a case of an Orca attacking a human in the wild – NEVER – and yet here you have one that has killed THREE times. If that’s not a cry for help I don’t know what is. Ric O’Barry, the first person to capture and train a wild dolphin (Flipper) renounced the practice after he watched the original dolphin who played Flipper commit suicide. You may laugh and say that’s ridiculous but dolphins (and Whales) DON’T BREATH AUTOMATICALLY like we do. They have to make a conscious decision to take a breath. Ric watched in horror as that dolphin swam to the bottom of her tank and refused to go up for air. He now works tirelessly to try and educate people and stop this evil business. I recommend you watch his award winning documentary, The Cove, so you can see how aquariums source their dolphins. In Japan the fishermen go out in boats, round up a pod of dolphins and drive them into a cove that they can’t escape from. The next day aquarium owners come and select the ones they want – usually the youngsters. The rest are then brutally clubbed to death – in front of the youngsters. The water turns red and the sound of the dolphins screaming is truly horrific. The dead dolphins are cut up and sold as meat, but there is very little market for dolphin meat as it is very high in heavy metals so the fishermen supplement their income by selling the youngsters for many thousands of dollars. If no-one was buying the young ones there would be no slaughter as it would be economically unviable.
      I also suggest you watch the new award winning doco Blackfish which shows the reality of life in captivity for Orcas. You obviously love the animals at SeaWorld – why else would you go so often? – so if you truly do love them then stand up for them by NOT going to SeaWorld or any other aquarium. The money you spend there signs the death warrant for thousands of dolphins – you are directly responsible for their deaths. If nobody went to places like SeaWorld there would be no dolphin slaughter!
      As for your reference to ‘pets’, there is one big difference between marine mammals and ‘pets’. ‘Pets’ (and I’m referring to cats and dogs here) have been domesticated for thousands of years – marine mammals are WILD animals – even if born in captivity they still exhibit all the behaviours and desires of their wild cousins. It takes thousands of years to domesticate a species. That said, I certainly DON’T agree with cats and dogs being kept in small enclosures or chained up nor do I agree with rabbits, guinea pigs and birds (and the like) being kept in cages . And wild animals, snakes, turtles, monkeys etc. should NEVER be kept as ‘pets’ – they’re not pets they’re wild animals and to keep one as a pet is to subject it to a life of torment and stress – just like SeaWorld are doing. In 100 years humans will look back at how we treat animals and call us barbaric just as we call slave traders and freak shows barbaric. I sincerely hope Jen, that you give this some serious thought.

    • Sam permalink
      November 8, 2013 6:09 am

      Good Lord Jen, get a brain, some info and education. Pets are domesticated unlike wild animals. Orcas are deeply sentient being, way smarter than humans, living in social groups, with strong emotional connections to each other. Now I’m not sure you’d enjoy some creatures stealing your children away from you right under your nose to train them for their own kind’s entertainment, locked in small rooms with no freedom and only taken out to perform tricks, grouped with other cultural groups making communicating and socializing difficult, forced to breed with multiple partners they haven’t chosen, developing all kind of diseases and neurosis from captivity, etc…like that’s their only purpose.

    • Leslie permalink
      December 27, 2013 12:20 am

      You want to provide a real education for your children? Take them to see whales and other beautiful creatures in their natural environment. Where they can be admired for their real beauty. Sea World is just a money making corporation. The more we continue to buy in to this scheme the more we are just supporting these unethical and cruel practices.

    • Jaan Black permalink
      January 29, 2014 11:04 am

      I’d like to put you and your 3 little mistakes in a closet and then I’ll abruptly take you away from them forever and see how that feels

  6. merchant shaila permalink
    October 27, 2013 11:35 pm

    Close the all seaworld in america.where is sam champian?save this amazing creature.people wake up.do something.let orcas go back to ocean to their family.just likeus human.

  7. merchant shaila permalink
    October 27, 2013 11:29 pm

    All the orkas in all the seaworld in america shd be free in ocean.they r being killed in captivity.pl let them go.yu r making money on them.

  8. Lyndi permalink
    October 26, 2013 8:16 am

    Keeping orcas and dolphins in captivity is cruel and unacceptable. It is totally unnatural and these poor mammals are plagued by extreme boredom and an expected early death.

  9. kayla permalink
    September 11, 2013 2:51 am

    This just makes me sick. If it can be avoided then it should have been. This just shows you how little seaworld cares about their animals.

  10. Tokidoki permalink
    February 9, 2013 1:39 am

    Aww poor kalina she was born on the same day as me sep.26 but we are in different years I love her so much I wish I could of had gone to sea world just at least once to see Kalina.
    <3,
    TIANA

  11. Tami permalink
    October 9, 2012 7:35 pm

    Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, neurological disorders, mental disorders. Sea World can’t give the best possible care to an orca because they don’t see these issues or choose to ignore them. To Sea world, $$$ is more important than the orca’s mental health.

  12. October 6, 2012 1:12 am

    I think what SW does with these Orcas is irresponsible. Breeding Residents with Transients and daughters with fathers… it is completely non-science and just experimental! All for producing more performers for their shows. It’s a shame human beings are just not learning. .

  13. October 5, 2012 9:27 pm

    I reiterate again and again……..Cetaceans DO NOT belong in concrete tanks or parks for entertainment. Sea World is nothing more than a Glorified Circus, for all they profess to care for these animals. As the old saying goes – if you love and care for someone, set them free. if the management at Sea World have even an ounce of consideration for these animals who have given up their freedom, family and way of life to earn dollars for SW, they would at least, start retiring the oldest ones to ocean sanctuaries, so that they can have a taste of real ocean, the tides and some semblance of normal life. How many more human and animal tragedies would it take for Sea World to seriously rethink and reconsider what they are dodging to these magnificent.giants of the ocean. Oh! no….these tragedies are swept under he rug as they look to import Belugas from Russia via Georgia aquarium. The greed and avarice for money over shadows every single thing they do. How hypocritical!

  14. Michelle Connolly permalink
    October 5, 2012 5:21 pm

    No marine mammal should be kept in captivity , marine research shows the high mortality rate in these cruel artificial surroundings. Sea world your disgrace .. Another death on your hands .. RIP all those deaths that have been instigated by your practices..

  15. Karen Stevens permalink
    October 5, 2012 5:09 pm

    When is the government going to intervene and ban these appalling acts of cruelty. When is the paying public going to recognise that they are being lied to and ripped off by these establishments. They are not paying to see a happy, well cared for whale but an unhappy tortured one who will desperately miss their family. This has got to stop! I’m disgusted that someone who is a vet and a ‘trained intelligent professional’ spews this rubbish- are these people delusional. A disgrace to your profession!! I hope the owners if sea world suffer in the same way that they have made these beautiful, intelligent creatures suffer. Shame on anyone who has any involvement with this, including the paying public- you all have blood on your hands and should be disgusted at yourselves!!!

  16. Astrid Lukassek permalink
    October 5, 2012 4:36 pm

    SEA WORLD!!!! You’re NOT helping this animals with captivity, why you don’t understand that… You’re one of the reasons for extinction!!! THIS IS FACT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The species told us so often that captivit means death fot them… But you don’t see that and you don’t listen to them!!! Finally do the right thing and free them all!

  17. October 5, 2012 11:23 am

    I don’t need to tell you how heartbreaking this is. You all know it is an absolute tragedy. I work with the resident and transient orcas around southern Vancouver Island. Granny, is the oldest known orca to science, and she is over 100 years old, and still swimming strong with her family in J pod. Every time I am blessed to share the water with these majestic creatures, I cannot help but to think of the poor souls still in captivity – especially Lolita. The celebration that would happen if she could come home to her mother and family in L Pod…. It would be astronomical. I can only hope, one day very soon, all our hard work will pay off and we can see these whales swim free.

  18. October 5, 2012 8:59 am

    Here is video of Sumar has they were about to remove him from his enclosure. Taken from a helicopter. – http://youtu.be/KoW_2vLQV_Q

  19. August 19, 2012 6:50 pm

    I’m at a loss reading this article. I was a senior in H.S. working PT at Sea World Orlando when she was born, and was so in awe! I still have the paper clipping of her birth. I now live in WA and have a son who is fascinated by Orcas. While in Friday Harbor, WA last year we heard about the eldest female J2 aka “Granny” turning 100. Guess it’s something to ponder.

  20. Kholista permalink
    August 3, 2012 9:51 pm

    It’s so sad 😓😭

  21. breah permalink
    February 16, 2012 1:16 pm

    shamu proply died because her tank and she could not breath

  22. Catherine permalink
    December 11, 2010 10:40 am

    This is not right. Captivity is wrong and is cruel. Kalina was one of my favourite orca and i cried for over 2 months after her death No matter what these animals need help, its not fair on them they should be looked after in a sea pen not put on display for entertainment

    • SOT permalink
      December 18, 2011 3:08 pm

      First of all, you would of never knew Kalina if Seaworld didn’t have her, and I’m sick of hearing Captivity is bad! and the Trainers getting a bad rep. (including me)people think we are these dumpf**** who only give our whales food if they perform right. IT’S NOT LIKE THAT, our whales love us as we do to them and everyday when we come in to are dream jobs they greet us and splash us and hug us, when we go down to exercise in the gym room we have ever single whale smiling at us and pointing there tongues out at us. So if your the person who didn’t go to collage for 6 years and actually touch one of my friends you shouldn’t be talking!

      Good day

      Seaworld Orca Trainer

      • Disappointed permalink
        December 22, 2011 2:34 pm

        Whales smile? Are you going to say dolphins smile too now? I think your post proved everyone’s point here about captivity. What are they supposed to do if they don’t like you.. flip you off? (Oh look, he’s waving to me!)

        I never understand how anyone can think a fishbowl (yes, the tanks are equivalent to a fishbowl to these giant creatures) is better than the ocean. If I were a whale in captivity, I’d wish for death.

      • Jen permalink
        February 9, 2012 9:43 am

        You’re a whale trainer – do you seriously expect us to believe that????

        I doubt SeaWorld hire people who cant spell or write a coherent sentence, lol.

      • Katie permalink
        September 3, 2012 4:27 am

        You went to college for six years but you can’t spell or put a sentence together properly. Yeah right, lol

      • September 25, 2012 9:40 pm

        well, my professor Dr John Jett with a phD for much more than 6 years of college has a BIG story to tell about sea world. You must know him well if you work there as a trainer, he must have been your boss instructing you to masterbate Tilikum? Don,t denty it. Pull it together, if you love those orcas you can love them in an ocean sanctuary. Shame on your SELFISH comment. Orcas are not domesticated dogs. They are ill in captivity. They only love you b/c they don’t have their own kind to love. Their dream is not to swim in a tea cup with humans, the dirt of evolution

      • Wilfred Rabbit permalink
        October 6, 2012 3:14 pm

        They love you? In about the same way as a lifer in prison feels affection for his guards. It’s you or nothing.

        They love you? So why do they kill your “trainers” then?

        You have made the basic mistake of humanising these magnificent creatures. They are NOT humans. They do not “smile” at you. Their jaws are just built that way. They do not “wave” at you. Whales and dolphins have a highly sophisticated communication system that we mere humans cannot understand. They do not wave anything at anyone.

        They are not your “friends”. You cannot even communicate with them. You have absolutely NO understanding of their language, and you have only the lightest grip on your own! Would you imprison a friend in the watery equivalent of a small cupboard and throw manky food at them? Would you pump your friend with anit-biotics so much that they can no longer fight off infection? Would you want people to pay money to watch your friend be humiliated and degraded? I hope your answer is “yes”, because that is exactrly what you do every single day to those you call “friend”.

        They are your SLAVES. They perform degrading tricks for gormless tourists because YOU make them.

      • Catherine permalink
        October 12, 2012 3:09 pm

        Yeah they smile at you why? FOOD!! ARE YOU THAT THICK!! they know they feed to do you honestly think they like being in a tank. YOU KNOW WHAT LOCK YOUR FAMILY UP IN A CAGE AND SEE HOW THEY LIKE THAT!!! YOUR DISGUSTING!!!! Oh and Well Done to Tilikum FLIPPIN EAT ALL OF THE TRAINERS, WOULD BE A MUCH BETTER PLACE.

      • hateseaworld permalink
        October 26, 2013 11:47 pm

        get a real job!

      • Claire permalink
        December 4, 2013 11:43 am

        Wow @SOT, is this what working for SW does to you, is this part of their “training programme” to completely brainwash you into thinking you are really part of their family?
        You are food to them, they do a trick, they get a fish….how on earth can you not see that?
        Unfortunately while people think like that and have that attitude Whales like Tilikum and the dozens of others across the world will continue to live a lonely and desperate existence with just the music, lights and cheese of the ‘Believe’ show making people think otherwise. It is so sad.

      • Jaan Black permalink
        January 29, 2014 11:12 am

        I’ll make sure to read to click on the article about you when your smiling orca scalps & drowns you out of frustration…see you then!

  23. Gigi permalink
    October 5, 2010 10:42 pm

    We enslave these majestic creatures and many other species…..as we did to the black man years ago. Humanity has set themselves apart and separate from the creatures of this world, assuming we are of superior intelligence. We are here as custodians, not jail keepers. We should assume no special rights over how we treat others.

    I am glad Kalina is no longer in SeaWorld. I am glad she is free at last.

    Thank you for this article.

    G

  24. Niki permalink
    October 5, 2010 6:45 pm

    I cannot believe Kalina died. Her mother, Katina, must be absolutely crushed. This comes as a shocking blow to me, even though I’ve been anti-captivity my whole life, I felt like I really “knew” Kalina since she has been alive the whole time I’ve been studying orcas.

    Who will die next after a life in prison? Corky? Tilikum?!

    This is awful and has to stop! Boycott marine parks to free these intelligent, social beings.

  25. Traci permalink
    October 5, 2010 2:29 pm

    If you look at orcahome.de Kalina was inpregnated at the age of 6!!!! That’s absolutely disgusting!

    “Kalina became the first captive born mother in 1993 with her calf Keet. She was just 6 years old when impregnated by Kotar. Kalina measures about 17.8 feet and weighs in at 6,280 pounds (Summer 2004).”

    http://orcahome.de/orcastat.htm

  26. October 5, 2010 2:01 pm

    In the 35 years since photo-ID demographic surveys have been conducted on Southern Resident orcas, out of 31 deaths of females, only 5 females between the ages of 15 and 35 (the prime reproductive years) have died.

  27. Iron Lung permalink
    October 5, 2010 12:39 pm

    The only thing Seaworld is protecting these animals from is old age. Way to go Seaworld. *clap*

Trackbacks

  1. Death Toll Rises At SeaWorld | Animal Connection
  2. The Hidden Cost Of Captivity- Oral Health of Killer Whales Exposed « The Orca Project
  3. Investigation Finds Hazardous Chemicals with Killer Whale Food Supply at SeaWorld « The Orca Project
  4. SeaWorld vs Marineland. Killer Whale Ikaika Caught in International Custody Battle « The Orca Project
  5. Killer Whale Tilikum Returns to SeaWorld Shows After 3rd Death « The Orca Project
  6. Seeing is Believing: Tilikum’s lonely life after Dawn. « The Orca Project
  7. Killer Whale Nami Dies Captivity « The Orca Project
  8. Exclusive Interview #2: Former SeaWorld trainer Carol Ray talks orca safety and separation with T.O.P. « The Orca Project
  9. Dr Naomi Rose Speaks Out on GMA about Premature Captive Orca Deaths « The Orca Project
  10. GMA Looks At The Death Of Kalina « Tim Zimmermann

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