Final killer whale to be born in SeaWorld park welcomed

The last orca has been born in captivity at a SeaWorld park in San Antonio, just over a year after the theme park made a decision to stop breeding orcas following animal rights protests and declining ticket sales. It's the last in a generation of whales bred in confinement.

Last year, SeaWorld said it would stop breeding killer whales and halt its orca shows by 2019 following protests by animal-rights groups, The Associated Press reported. The gestation period for orcas is about 18 months. The gender of the newborn calf is not yet known.

"Although this is the last killer whale birth at a SeaWorld park, our work to understand and protect this species will continue for decades to come", said Hendrik Nollens, vice president of veterinary services for SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment.

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Takara began bonding and caring for her new baby immediately, according to the park. That film profiled one of its whales, Tilikum, who has been involved in the deaths of three people, including SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010.

Visitors soon will be able to see the calf with its mother "during select times", the park said.

PETA has called for Takara and her newborn to be sent to a seaside sanctuary.

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