credit: SeaWorld San Diego
An orca has died while in captivity at SeaWorld San Diego. Nakai, a captive orca died of an infection this past Friday. He is the second orca to die at the park – Amaya, a 6-year-old female died in August 2021 and before that Kasatka, a 42-year-old female died in August 2017. The type of infection has not been released to the public yet.
Nakai was born in 2001 and ended up lived his entire life in a tank. He was the first orca to be successfully born via artificial insemination from mother Kasatka and father Tilikum, who resided at SeaWorld Orlando. He was forced to perform until 2017 when SeaWorld San Diego ended the traditional trick-laden orca shows. Nakai’s death leaves SeaWorld with eight remaining orcas held in captivity, ranging in age from 9 to 57. A young male in the wild his age may expect to live a long life in excess of 60 years.
WDC does not believe in keeping whales and dolphins in captivity. These intelligent creatures would roam for miles each day in the wild but in captivity, they are not able to do so. When in captivity, orcas show repetitive behaviors which indicate chronic stress. They also live shorter lives in captivity as Nakai showed.
We mourn the loss of Nakai today but continue to work hard to put an end to captivity. For Nakai, for the ones we’ve already loss and the ones that live in captivity today.