Ikaika, meaning “strength” in Hawaiian, is pronounced “I – KY – KAH,” but we just call him Ike.
He was born at SeaWorld Orlando on August 25, 2002 and later lived at a marine park in Canada for several years as part of a breeding program. Ike joined our family of killer whales (also known as Orcinus orca or “orca”) at SeaWorld San Diego in November 2011. Our team of trainers immediately fell in love with him. He has a sweet, fun-loving personality with a great attitude, and he loves interacting with his trainers and the other whales.
I am currently Ike’s team leader and have built an amazing relationship with him. His favorite whale to be around is our oldest female named Corky. They both really seem to enjoy each other’s company. He enjoys playing with a lot of toys – and we have big toys for killer whales – and his favorite thing is to eat is ice chips given by our trainers. He has been known to squeal when we are scooping out ice because he is so excited! Ike is also known for having the largest blowhole and the biggest tongue of any of the whales in our pod.
It’s always fun to watch him perform a “thrash side-out behavior” where he shakes his huge tongue from side to side. Ike can hear in a higher frequency than most of the other whales. We know this because we do hearing test research with our orcas, including Ike, and collect data about their frequencies. This information helps scientists better understand the impact of noise on killer whales from ships and other human activities in the ocean.
Whether he’s playing with toys, learning new behaviors or participating in one of our many research studies to help orcas in the wild, Ike is always putting a smile on our faces.
-Lindy Donahue, Supervisor of Animal Training
- Born: August of 2002
- Weighs 5,900 pounds
- Measures 19 feet long
- Distinguishing Physical Characteristics: largest blowhole and the biggest tongue of any of the whales in our pod
- Research involved in: audiogram (hearing) study, photographic assessment of body shape changes study, breath sampling (CO/CO2) study
Lindy, Supervisor of Animal Training
My career began with SeaWorld in the summer of 2000. Since then, I have worked with bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins, pilot whales and killer whales.