SeaWorld reported Friday the Killer Whale Takara and her new calf are successfully bonding, as the baby has begun nursing. Takara, the 25-year-old matriarch of the orca pod at SeaWorld San Antonio, gave birth to the calf at 2:33 p.m. Central Time, April 19, 2017.
A team of veterinarians and animal care specialists were on hand for the historic birth and continue to monitor Takara and her calf 24-hours-a-day to help ensure a successful start.
Guests to SeaWorld San Antonio will have the opportunity to visit and observe Takara and her calf beginning today, and throughout this weekend during set visiting hours that will be posted at the San Antonio Park, and also available on: www.SeaWorldSanAntonio.com
“We continue to observe Takara’s calf during these first critical days and weeks, and are happy to report that the calf is nursing on a regular basis,” said Chris Bellows, Vice President of Zoological Operations.
“Takara is simply a great mom, swimming with her calf at her side, creating a slipstream that enables the baby to easily glide alongside its mother. Our veterinary and animal care team are providing round the clock care so that Takara can focus on the important job of nursing and caring for her newborn. “
“Takara is eating regularly and her normal daily food intake of around 100 pounds of fresh fish will nearly double in order to be able to produce her rich milk as she continues to nurse.” added Bellows. “We are very pleased by the progress that Takara and her baby are making and excited that we are able to share the experience with our guests to observe the mother and calf.”
The calf’s gender is not yet determined. The birth of Takara’s calf is the last killer whale birth at a SeaWorld park and it is also the last chance for researchers to study orca development in ways that cannot be done in the wild, helping to benefit wild whales as well as those in SeaWorld’s care.
Takara was already pregnant when SeaWorld made its announcement that it would end orca breeding in March 2016.