SeaWorld Orlando recently announced the death of Kayla, one of the last six orcas at the park. Kayla was 30 years old and was born at the San Antonio SeaWorld in 1988. She was moved to the Orlando location in 2006 where she lived out the rest of her life.
SeaWorld said in a statement that the beloved creature had shown signs of discomfort over the weekend, and while she had round-the-clock care she, unfortunately, perished this morning. It is not currently known what caused the whale's death but SeaWorld stated they will be performing an autopsy to further determine the cause.
In the meantime, the news of the whale's death has sparked further outrage on social media regarding keeping wildlife in captivity. Many zoos throughout the world (SeaWorld in particular), have come under fire recently after the organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) started petitioning and campaigning against them.
PETA advocates against keeping wild animals in captivity, claiming it is cruel and inhumane. In fact, they have an entire website dedicated to trying to shut down SeaWorld called "SeaWorld of Hurt."
Needless to say, PETA has not kept quiet about their feelings on Kayla's passing and have further used the news to get people to sign their petition urging SeaWorld to send their whales to a sea sanctuary.
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The people of PETA aren't the only ones angry about the whale's death. One Facebook user writes:
"This is so sad. I remember when she was born. My ex and I visited the park and while there we watched the video of her being born. She was still an infant at the time. This is such a shame. I doubt it can be from natural causes. Average life expectancy is 30-50 yrs but they have been known to reach up to 70 and rarely 80 for males and 80-100 for females."
"More like lived in discomfort for 30 years! I will never go to sea world! Locking an animal in a small pool for entertainment! Smh"
Of course, not everyone is using this as an opportunity to attack SeaWorld and are just genuinely sad about the loss of a magnificent creature. A Facebook user responded by the news with:
"Sad about Kayla. The orcas are all so fantastic at Sea World."
Another user defended Seaworld, stating that given the circumstances they did the best they could for the whale:
"Kayla was born in captivity before they dismantled the breeding program. She could not have survived if she had been released. They did the best thing for her given the situation."
Due to all of the criticism over the years, SeaWorld decided to stop breeding orcas and to phase out its world-famous killer whale performances by 2019. It's not clear if the park will have any more orcas at this location after the remaining 5.