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It's an orca! Last killer whale is born at a SeaWorld park
21 April 2017, 02:34 | Darnell Patrick
Must-see: SeaWorld's last baby killer whale born in Texas
Researchers are now able to study how a baby orca reacts around siblings because two of Takara's other calves are also housed at the San Antonio theme park.
SeaWorld will continue to care for the orcas at its parks-orcas live a lengthy life and Takara is 25, for example-but the theatrical shows and tricks are over.
SeaWorld'skiller whale collection has increasingly become a source of controversy for the company.
SeaWorld Entertainment has welcomed what's expected to be the last killer whale born at its theme parks.
"He also insisted that SeaWorld is still committed to orca research and conservation, adding: "[The last orca birth] is a solemn reminder of how things can change and how things can be lost". Protests by animal rights activists and a decline in ticket sales prompted the Florida-based company to nix its whale breeding program a year ago.
SeaWorld - under pressure since a 2013 documentary laid out the argument that captivity was harmful to orcas both physically and emotionally - announced in late 2015 that it was ending its killer whale shows by 2019.
In the meantime, visitors will be able to see the new calf at the San Antonio park's orca stadium pool, or in two adjacent pools - where it will be observed by trainers reporting to researchers investigating the species.
SeaWorld's chief zoological officer, Chris Dold, told The Associated Press by phone that the birth was one of those "extraordinary moments".
Meanwhile, the activist group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals told NBC News that it was calling on SeaWorld to "retire" Takara and her calf "to a seaside sanctuary, where they may someday be reunited with Takara's mother, other children, and grandchildren".
Spokeswoman Suzanne Pelisson Beasley said birth control and "social management" would prevent future orca breeding. It brings SeaWorld's orca population in the U.S.to 23. Everyday she inspires SeaWorld's guests to learn more about and do more to protect animals in the wild. It was 25-year-old Takara's fifth birth. He went on to say that SeaWorld would not free its orcas because the time spent in captivity meant they would likely die in open waters.
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