October 13, 2008:
At Kamogawa Sea World, Japan, ten years old female Lovey gave birth to her first calf. The father of the little male is Oscar. The tail of the calf began to appear at about 8:55 am, the actual birth occurred at 11:44 am. This is the first third-generation calf in the history of orcas in Japanese marine parks. Lovey is the first daughter of Stella, who is also the mother of Lara and Ran 2. Stella’s third calf, Sarah, died in April 2006.
September 20, 2008:
On September 19, 2008, the female orca Ku at Port of Nagoya Aquarium died. She was the last survivor of the so-called Taiji 5, that were captured off Japan in February 1997.
The death of Ku (6.1 meters long, estimated 18 years old) was reported by The Chunichi, The Yomiuri, The Asahi, and The Mainichi as of September 19.
She was found dead at the bottom of the medical pool in the Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium at 7:55 a.m. on September 19. When died, she weighed 2.7 tons (deduced 300 kilograms in recent two weeks.)
It was said that she caught a summer cold, but the newspapers reported that the herpes virus was found in the blood in the middle of July, inflammation was found in the body and on the skin, and the white blood corpuscle was increasing. She lost appetite around July 23, and refused to eat. She reportedly recovered a little in the beginning of September, but again has stopped eating for recent two weeks. The cause of death is now being inspected at Gifu University.
The Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium loaned her from the Taiji Whale Museum for breeding purposes in 2003. Its contract is to be expired in October this year. However, the contract of the “breeding loan” was already made between the Taiji Whale Museum and the Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium without approval of the Taiji Town Council, Mr. Yamashita, Taiji Town councilman, said. One has to wonder whether the death of Ku will advance the plan of capturing orcas in Taiji. (Report from Japan)
July 22, 2008:
SeaWorld parks up for sale?
Anheuser-Busch, owners of the SeaWorld franchise, has been bought by another brewer, InBev from Belgium. Rumours have it that InBev is interested only in the core drinks departments of Anheuser-Busch and will therefore sell all other assets including the SeaWorld parks at Orlando, San Diego and San Antonio.
Source: Houston Chronicle
June 17, 2008:
SeaWorld loses second whale in past eight months
A 2½-year-old killer whale died Sunday night at SeaWorld San Antonio, becoming the second orca to die at the theme park in the past eight months. Early Monday, SeaWorld officials said the female killer whale named Halyn died unexpectedly. But SeaWorld spokeswoman Fran Stephenson said Monday evening that the whale had been under a 24-hour watch and was on two courses of treatment after her behavior changed earlier in the weekend. She said she didn’t know what those changes were. Tissue samples from the whale will be examined to establish a cause of death, she said, but that will take about six weeks. “While we recognize that death is part of the life cycle, we are saddened over the unexpected loss of this animal,” a SeaWorld press release said. Halyn was one of five killer whales at SeaWorld San Antonio’s Shamu Theater, but Stephenson said Halyn didn’t perform regularly because she was young. The whale was, however, featured in educational presentations and behind-the-scenes tours. The death comes almost eight months after Taku, a 14-year-old male orca, died Oct. 17 at the park. Officials said that death was unexpected as well. Tests showed Taku died of pneumonia, a respiratory infection.
Source: Houston Chronicle
Note: Halyn was rejected by her mother Kayla and had to be hand-reared. She measured about 10.5 feet (2007) and weighed in at 1,900 pounds (June 2008).
February 29, 2008:
SeaWorld announced plans to open a new facility in Dubai, including the public display of killer whales. Check the story on Orlando Sentinel.
January 23, 2008:
Celebrities push for retirement of Lolita in her native waters of the Pacific Northwest. Check the story on Newsweek.
January 15, 2008:
Nootka 5 passed away at Marineland Canada
Marineland has lost its matriarch killer whale. Nootka 5 died January 8. She had been at the popular tourist attraction for more than 27 years. “We were heartbroken, absolutely heartbroken,” said Marineland spokeswoman Ann Marie Rondinelli. “We don’t like to play favourites but she was definitely loved by everybody,” she said. The female killer whale was believed to be around 40 years old (note: she was actually around 30 years old and Marineland knows it!) and had given birth to a number of calves over the years (note: none of whom survived). Marineland is now awaiting the results of a necropsy. Nootka, named after the Native American tribe that lived in parts of British Columbia and Washington, was captured in Iceland in the fall of 1979 (note: that’s often stated but actually incorrect; the Icelandic documents show that it was Kiskawho was captured in 1979; Nootka 5 was captured in October 1981).
Source: Niagara Falls Review