The last killer whale to be born in captivity at SeaWorld has died at the age of just three months.
SeaWorld gave a statement saying that the whale, named Kyara, had “very serious and progressive health issues” during the course of the last week and died on Monday (July 24).
Vets treated the orca calf day and night for three days before her death. This involved hand-feeding the whale and providing antibiotics.
A post-mortem examination is to be conducted, meaning the cause of death will most likely not be confirmed for a few weeks.
Despite this SeaWorld said the calf is thought to have had pneumonia, The Washington Post reported.
Julie Sigman, the SeaWorld trainer for orcas said: “Kyara had a tremendous impact on each of her care staff, not to mention all of the guests that had the chance to see her.
“From late nights to early morning, rain or shine, we dedicate our lives to these animals, and this loss will be felt throughout the entire SeaWorld family.”
SeaWorld now only has 22 orcas in total living at their facilities in Orlando, San Diego and San Antonio.
It was killer whale Takara that gave birth to Kyara in April this year in San Antonio, but the park says no other members of the pod have shown any symptoms of sickness.
SeaWorld has already announced that it will no longer be breeding orcas and it will be removing performances by killer whales, after the park was inundated with complaints.
In 2010 a trainer was killed by a killer whale in front of an audience and a documentary released in 2013 entitled Blackfish left many criticising the park.
Instead of performances, SeaWorld will offer visitors the chance to view the orcas for 45 minutes.