Featured Image Credit: SeaWorld
SeaWorld is excited to announce that it has officially added another member to its family! Takara, the 25-year-old matriarch of SeaWorld San Antonio’s orca pod, gave birth to her calf on Wednesday, April 19 at 2:33pm. Both veterinarians and killer whale trainers were present throughout the exciting day and continue to monitor Takara and her baby around the clock.
According to the killer whale trainers, Takara has been an amazing mother to all of her calves, which makes this event even more special for everyone involved. So far, the same is true with her newest calf.
“Nothing can prepare you for that moment when mom helps the calf get to the surface for its first breath. The second the calf is born, Takara is 100% focused on its care and well-being. She knows exactly what to do. It is amazing,” said Julie Sigman, an Assistant Curator at SeaWorld San Antonio. Sigman has been Takara’s trainer through three of her last pregnancies and births.
The gestation period for a killer whale is about 18 months, which mean this birth has been much anticipated for almost a year and a half! The gender of the baby has not yet been determined, since genital markings are only visible once killer whales jump into the air from the water, called breaching.
Another reason that makes this event so special is that it is the last killer whale birth at a SeaWorld park. As exciting as it is, it is also the last opportunity for researches to study orca development in ways that just can’t be done in the wild, helping to conserve this amazing species.
Information learned from Takara and her calf will add to SeaWorld’s extensive database and knowledge about killer whales and their calves. This information will contribute directly to conservation efforts for populations, like the Southern Resident killer whales that are threatened by pollution, overfishing and human development.
Guests of SeaWorld San Antonio will soon have the opportunity to visit Takara and her calf during select times to see just how a baby killer whale grows and matures. To learn more, click here.