November 8, 2000:
Taima at SeaWorld Orlando gave birth to a male calf, estimated to measure 7 feet long and weigh 350 pounds. It is Taima’s second after Sumar, born in 1998.
October 24, 2000:
Young male orca Tanouk, also called Yamato, died, at Izu-Mito Sea Paradise, Japan. The cause of death has not been revealed. Tanouk was badly mishandled during his transfer from Marineland France to Japan in 1995, with stretcher lines cutting through his belly. In France he had been separated from the other orcas for a long time because of mental and physical health problems. In Japan he seemed to go along well with Asuka, a female captured during the Taiji 5 capture in 1997. Tanouk was among the last captures off Iceland in October 1989, together with still surviving females Sharkane and Ran. Also in that capture was female Ai, who died at Nanki Shirahama Adventure World, Japan, in August 1995.
August 14, 2000:
Vigga, the lone surviving orca whale at Six Flags Marine World died from a heart condition and lung infection. Veterinarians at the University of California were still investigating what caused a buildup of fluid around the whale’s heart. Vigga had been receiving antibiotics for the last 10 days after routine blood tests showed internal inflammation, park officials said. Vigga was captured off Iceland in November, 1980, together with Bjossa, Ulises and the late Finna.
March 29, 2000:
Female Ruka died at Nanki Shirahama Adventure World, Japan. Ruka was captured off Iceland in October 1981, together with five other whales. Of those 6 whales, 5 have died with Kiska at Marineland Canada being the last survivor. The cause of death has not been revealed. Apparently Ruka sunk to the bottom of the tank just after the show and never surfaced again. This makes it the ninth orca that died at Nanki Shirahama plus two unsuccessful pregnancies. Three orcas remain at Nanki Shirahama: male Goro, captured off Japan in 1985; female Ran, captured off Iceland in 1989; and the young male Kyu of the Taiji 5 capture in 1997. Ruka was the oldest orca in a Japanese tank, although being just in her early twenties. Female orcas have an average live expectancy of 50 years, with some whales getting more than eighty years old.
March 4, 2000:
Juvenile female Malik died at Marineland Canada. Malik was born to Nootka 5 on April 21, 1996 and also called E-Day because that day happened to be an election day. It was Nootka 5’s third calf out of five, three of which are surviving: Neocia and Algonquin at Marineland Canada, and Splash at SeaWorld San Diego. The cause of death has not been revealed but Malik had been battling a weak immune system for some time. According to Marineland’s veterinarian, Malik had been kept alive solely by the large amount of medication she had been given since her birth in 1996. Spokeswoman Ann Marie Rondinelli said, “It’s basically the medication that has kept her going for the past three years.” Some life.
March 3, 2000:
Keiko, the orca of the Free Willy movie, swam out of his pen into the enclosed waters of a remote Icelandic bay. The netting closing off his pen has been removed, allowing him to roam around an enclosed area of Klettsvik Bay in the Westman Islands off Iceland’s south coast about 22 times bigger than his current home. The bay enclosure will be a half-way house for Keiko before he is released into the sea and will allow him to experience an ocean environment for the first time since his capture off Iceland more than 20 years ago (more at Ocean Future’s Keiko Homepage).Later in 2000 he was escorted to travels outside the fjord, including meeting wild orcas. So far Keiko always decided to come back to Klettsvik Bay. In 2001 they moved forward with Keiko to multiple-day excursions in the open sea.
February 4, 2000:
Female Belen died at Mundo Marino (Argentina). Belen was captured in August 1985 in a rescue stranding. So far the reason of death has not been published. One can speculate that her death was related to the fact that Belen was in the 4th month of a pregnancy when she died and already had a stillbirth in 1998. But that’s speculation, of course, until the owners tell what happened (which much too often doesn’t happen at all!). Belen’s death leaves young male Kshamenk, captured in 1992, as the lone surviving killer whale at Mundo Marino.