SeaWorld Orlando Orca, Kayla, Dies Decades Short of Life Expectancy After Illness

A 30-year-old orca whale has died after a brief illness at SeaWorld Orland, 20 years short of a female orca's usual life expectancy. Kayla was born in captivity in Texas in 1988 and was one of 20 whales still housed at the company's parks around the country. SeaWorld has faced growing anger over keeping and breeding killer whales in captivity since the programme was exposed in a damning documentary, Blackfish, in 2013. “Although animal care specialists and veterinarians devoted around the clock attention to Kayla, she did not survive,” SeaWorld said in a statement. “While today is a difficult day for all of us at SeaWorld, Kayla inspired generations of guests and employees to care and learn more about this amazing species.” The U.S. government estimates that female orcas typically live around 50 years, but can live to be as old as 80 or 90 in the wild. In 2016, SeaWorld said it would end its orca breeding program.