It’s official — the LAST baby killer whale to be born in captivity at any SeaWorld park has arrived. And the infant calf is JUST as adorable as you’d think. Born to Takara in San Antonio, the proud mom began ‘bonding & caring’ for her little one immediately, making their 1st pics together cuter than ever!
This is SO sweet! SeaWorld San Antonio in Texas welcomed a baby orca on Apr. 19, and we are turning to mush over these pics of the calf swimming with its mom Takara. The little one — whose gender is not yet known — is the last orca to be born in captivity at any SeaWorld park after major backlash from 2013’s documentary Blaskfish.
End of an era! SeaWorld’s last baby orca born in San Antonio pic.twitter.com/9RDLqHN43q
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) April 20, 2017
While SeaWorld announced in March 2016 that it would end its killer whale breeding program, Takara was already pregnant at the time of the announcement, according to the company. They said she became impregnated through “natural breeding.” And if over a year seems like a long time to be pregnant, it is — but only for a human! For killer whales, the gestation period is actually between 17 and 18 months.
“Takara will let us know when she is ready for us to meet the calf and at that time we should be able to determine the gender,” Julie Sigman, an assistant curator at SeaWorld San Antonio, said in a statement. In the near future, SeaWorld San Antonio plans to let visitors observe Takara, who’s 25, as well as her calf. But until then, we have these sweet pictures and footage to tied us over.
The park revealed that as soon as Takar gave birth, she began bonding and caring for her baby right away. The ocra had previously given birth to four other calves — only two of them are still at SeaWorld San Antonio. “The birth of Takara’s calf is also the last chance for researchers to study orca development in ways that cannot be done in the wild, helping to benefit wild whales as well as those in SeaWorld’s care,” the company said in a statement issued on Apr. 19.
“Although this will be the last opportunity for SeaWorld guests to see a baby killer whale up close as it grows and matures, SeaWorld will continue to care for the orcas at its parks for decades to come,” SeaWorld added.
Tell us, HollywoodLifers — are you happy this is the last baby orca born in captivity at SeaWorld? Isn’t it adorable?