A 30-year-old orca died Monday at SeaWorld's Orlando park after a brief illness, company officials say. A cause of death won't be known until a post-mortem examination is conducted, per SeaWorld. Kayla began showing signs of discomfort on Saturday, and veterinarians began treating her based on what they found from a physical exam, the AP reports. Her condition worsened on Sunday and she was given around-the-clock care until her death, park officials say. Kayla was among the last orcas at SeaWorld's Orlando park.
SeaWorld has 20 orcas total left in its parks: five in Orlando, five in San Antonio, and 10 in San Diego.The company announced in 2016 it had stopped its orca breeding program after years of protests by animal rights activists. The animal rights group PETA said its members in Florida planned to hold two protests this week outside SeaWorld's Orlando park to memorialize Kayla. "While we recognize that it's too late to help her, it's not too late to call attention to SeaWorld's other orca prisoners, who must be released into seaside sanctuaries as soon as possible," PETA said in a statement.
(Read more orca