Kyara’s Death a Tragic Irony
It’s a tragic irony that Kyara, the last orca to be born at SeaWorld, died yesterday at the age of three months.
Under pressure from public opinion, the company announced in March 2016 that it would not continue its breeding program. But the death of the last orca to be born in one of its marine parks brings a sad and poignant end to this chapter in the history of treating these magnificent individuals as entertainment for tourists.
In comments to the CBS Morning News (in the clip above), Whale Sanctuary Project President Lori Marino said:
“What the death of this young calf tells us is that these animals cannot thrive in concrete tanks. This is about forcing these animals into a situation that they don’t have any adaptations to. And because of that you see them basically dying, left and right.”
SeaWorld wrote in a statement that their “dedicated team of veterinarians spent the last three days providing critical care to Kyara.”
But even the best medical care that the human world can provide cannot make up for what orca babies need most: the loving care of their own true families in their own true environment. In the absence of that, they are permanently stressed to the point where their immune systems are compromised, and they have no defense against the kind of infections that are common to orcas who spend their lives in concrete tanks.
For SeaWorld, Kyara’s death will be a bitter blow. But if it can help them to understand that it’s time to bring this form of “entertainment” to an end and retire their whales to sanctuaries, then Kyara’s sacrifice will not have been in vain.