SAN ANTONIO – SeaWorld has one more reason to be thankful this holiday season. Takara, a 22-year-old killer whale, gave birth to a calf Friday at 12:08 a.m. The yet-to-be-named calf is the 29th killer whale born in SeaWorld’s history, and it joins five other killer whales that reside at the San Antonio park.
Takara gave birth to a female calf – estimated to measure 7 feet long – in Shamu Theater’s main pool after being in labor for slightly more than one hour. Immediately after birth, the baby whale instinctively swam to the surface of the water for its first breath of air. SeaWorld veterinarians and animal care specialists, who have devoted the last several weeks to 24-hour watch of the expectant mother, were on hand to witness the birth.
“We’re delighted to welcome the newest Baby Shamu to our killer whale family,” said Chris Bellows, SeaWorld San Antonio vice president of zoological operations. “Successful births like this are further evidence that SeaWorld parks have created healthy, enriching habitats for these animals. Millions of guests visit our parks each year and gain a greater appreciation for killer whales and other species in our care. No other organization on the planet connects people with wildlife better than SeaWorld.”
This is the fourth calf born to Takara, a 16-foot-long, 5,000-pound killer whale. SeaWorld animal care specialists are cautiously optimistic about the progress of the baby and her mother.
“The mom and baby appear to be doing very well, and we’re hopeful that this is a strong and healthy calf,” Bellows said. “As with any newborn, the first few days are critical. We’re looking forward to the continued bonding of mom and calf, and the baby beginning to nurse. “
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment operates 10 parks across the U.S. including SeaWorld parks in Orlando, San Diego and San Antonio; Busch Gardens parks in Tampa, Fla. and Williamsburg, Va.; Discovery Cove and Aquatica in Orlando; Sesame Place near Philadelphia, Pa.; and water parks Adventure Island in Tampa and Water Country USA in SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment inspires millions, through the power of entertainment, to celebrate, connect with and care for the natural world. The Company has been creating innovative entertainment experiences that blend imagination with nature for more than 50 years and is best known for its 11 U.S. theme parks, attractions that hosted more than 24 million guests in 2012 and include the beloved SeaWorld®, Busch Gardens® and Sesame Place® brands.