Meet Corky!

She’s the oldest killer whale (also known as Orcinus orca or “orca”) in all the SeaWorld parks, estimated to be 52 years old. Affectionately called “The Beast,” she is our largest female weighing more than 8,300 pounds and is more than 19 feet long. Corky is the trainer’s trainer. Her gentle and sweet personality makes her the perfect whale for new trainers to interact with, myself included!

Corky shows so much trust when new trainers come to Shamu Stadium, and this trust allows trainers to build their confidence working with killer whales. She shows the same sort of trust when new whales have come to San Diego from other marine parks.

I witnessed her meet Ikaika, Keet and Shouka all individually when they joined our orca family. She buddied up with each of them and made them feel right at home. Corky has a very special bond with Ikaika. She spends the majority of her free time hanging out with this goofy juvenile male, showing how at 51 years old, she’s still a kid at heart. Corky is also very athletic, often surpassing all the other whales in how fast she can swim and how high she can jump. She often does exercise sessions on her own, breaching or fast swimming around a pool, displacing gallons of salt water.

I feel so lucky to be able to interact, relate and play with Corky every day. And I can see the impact she makes to our park guests, inspiring them every day … just like she inspires me.

-Michelle, Senior 1 Animal Trainer

Quick Facts

  • Estimated to be 51 years old
  • Female
  • Weighs 8,335 pounds
  • Measures 19 feet long
  • Distinguishing Physical Characteristics: largest female killer whale in San Diego pod
  • Research involved in: Corky is currently part of a hearth monitoring research study, audiogram (hearing) study, photographic assessment of body shape changes study, breath sampling (CO/CO2) study

Michelle, Senior 1 Animal Trainer


I worked at Six Flags Marine World for seven years with dolphins, sea lions, walruses, and seals. That eventually led to a position at SeaWorld San Diego, where I’ve be lucky enough to train killer whales!