It was with deep sadness that I heard the news of Kayla's passing this morning. I have had concerns about Kayla for years, so I wasn't a surprised that she was the next victim of captivity.
Kayla had a difficult life in captivity. She was born in November of 1988 at SeaWorld San Antonio to mother Kenau and father Orky II, who died before she was born. She rejected the calf she had in 2005 in San Antonio and was moved to Orlando in November 2006.
We reported concern of Kayla's excessive logging back in 2014. At that time, Granny was still alive as the matriarch of the Southern Resident population of orcas in the Pacific Northwest. Granny passed away in 2017, but was thought to possibly be over 100 years old at the time of her death.
Kayla had a reputation for aggression. We documented a possible result from one of these episodes back in March of 2014.
Photo by Heather Murphy/Ocean Advocate News
SeaWorld reported that Kayla was experiencing "discomfort" on Saturday and received vet attention throughout the weekend. She worsened on Sunday and passed on Monday morning. "Discomfort" is a very vague word, and typically SeaWorld is not forthcoming with necropsy results. We will likely never know her true cause of death.
Yesterday in Orlando, the local news stations reported on Kayla's death.
WFTV had Rick Munarriz, a writer for Motley Fool, speak about Kayla's death, reporting that people come to watch "fish and mammals" jump out of the water at SeaWorld.
Local 6 pointed out through a PETA reference that Kayla never got to swim in the ocean. They also stood by SeaWorld's claim that Kayla is the last generation of orcas in captivity at the park and demonstrated a new business model by interviewing a visitor who brought her family to the park to ride the manta coaster.
Let's hope so!