SeaWorld San Diego just lost one of its own. The youngest orca who lived at the beloved marine animal theme park died suddenly.
Amaya, a six-year-old orca, was showing signs of illness on Thursday. SeaWorld revealed in a statement that once the sea mammal began to feel unwell, animal care specialists and veterinarians began treating her. She died hours after being cared for.
“Despite her care team’s efforts, Amaya’s condition continued to decline rapidly. Her death was sudden and unexpected,” SeaWorld said.
A post-mortem exam is being done as no cause of death was obvious immediately.
The name Amaya means “night rain,” according to the park’s website. The young whale helped SeaWorld “gather and share critical information about calf development for researchers studying wild populations”.
SeaWorld San Diego has nine orcas in its custody and Amaya lived at the quasi-ocean world with her mother and father, Kalia and Ulises.
SeaWorld announced in 2016 that they were discontinuing their orca breeding program after critics blasted them for their treatment of the animals. The documentary “Blackfish” further highlighted the problem. The film featured the issue of a SeaWorld trainer killed by an orca named Tilikum in 2010.
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) filed complaints with the US Department of Agriculture this week requesting an investigation after receiving two whistleblower reports about an incident that may have caused Amaya’s death.
PETA’s executive vice president, Tracy Reiman, told The Post, “If the whistleblower reports that PETA received are true, orca Amaya died just days after SeaWorld workers put all 10 orcas into a single tank, despite a documented history of aggression among some of them — leading Amaya to chase, rake, and injure the much older orca Corky, who may have retaliated overnight”.
“PETA is demanding a full outside investigation into whether SeaWorld’s incompetence left Corky injured and Amaya dead at just six years old,” she added.
— New York Post