Last killer whale is born at a SeaWorld park

Takara, the 25-year-old matriarch of the orca pod, gave birth to the calf at 2:33 p.m. Central Time, April 19, 2017, at SeaWorld San Antonio.

The last killer whale calf born in captivity at SeaWorld was birthed on Wednesday afternoon at SeaWorld San Antonio, the company announced.

"PETA is calling on SeaWorld to spare (Takara's) fifth calf a lifetime of suffering in prison by retiring both mother and child to a seaside sanctuary, where the baby may someday be reunited with Takara's mother, other children, and grandchildren", the organization said in a statement Wednesday.

According to SeaWorld's Facebook page, mom and baby are off to a great start. SeaWorld has not collected a wild orca in almost 40 years, and most of its orcas were born in captivity. "She is a true ambassador", Bellows continued. The moment the calf is born, Takara is 100% focused on the care and well-being of that baby. "It is unbelievable", said Sigman. "Takara will let us know when she is ready for us to meet the calf and begin developing a trusting relationship, just like we have with Takara".

All of the remaining orca whales will remain on display and be made available for researchers for many years to come at SeaWorld's San Antonio, San Diego, and Orlando locations. Protests by animal rights activists and a decline in ticket sales prompted the Florida-based company to nix its whale breeding program previous year.

The last killer whale has been born in captivity at a SeaWorld park.

In this image provided by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment orca Takara helps guide her newborn to the water's surface at SeaWorld San Antonio, Wednesday, April 19, 2017, in San Antonio. "We are very pleased that this birth will be able to continue to add to this body of knowledge for this iconic species".

Last year, SeaWorld announced it would phase out killer whale shows. "We love these killer whales".

This new calf brings the company's number of killer whales in the United States to 23. It has been nearly four decades since the park has removed an orca from the wild. The company is one of the world's foremost zoological organizations and a global leader in animal welfare, training, husbandry and veterinary care. A 2013 documentary and animal rights activists called the breeding program into question, charging that killer whales were harmed in captivity.

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