SeaWorld Is Saddened To Announce The Passing Of Kyara

Sept. 28, 2017 Update
The SeaWorld San Antonio team has been inspired over the last couple of months by the tremendous amount of support that our fans have shown. Many of you have asked about cause of death for Kyara. Kyara was being treated for a serious case of pneumonia, and her illness was very acute, as is often the case in young animals. Following a full port-mortem examination, her cause of death was confirmed as lung disease.

July 25, 2017
Hello SeaWorld fans. First, thank you all for your thoughts and wishes over the last day as the SeaWorld family goes through this difficult time. We’ve seen a lot of questions and we wanted to provide a quick update for each of you.

Many of you have been asking about Kyara’s illness and what she ultimately died from. A full post-mortem examination is being conducted, which may take several weeks to be completed. Our team was treating her for a serious case of pneumonia, which was the start of her declining health. We will continue to update everyone right here and on the SeaWorld Facebook and Twitter channels as more information is available.

We’ve also had a lot of questions about how the orca pod in San Antonio is doing. We’ve checked in with the trainers, veterinarians and staff who all say that Takara and the orca pod are doing well. They have been active all day and are engaging with the trainers, and we will continue to monitor any changes in their behavior.

The orca trainers, and entire SeaWorld staff, continue to be inspired by the outpouring of support from friends, fans and the extended SeaWorld family across the globe, as well as the countless guests that have come out to SeaWorld San Antonio in support of the work we do to care for animals, as well as to protect animals worldwide.

Thank you for your continued support and keep checking back for more updates. 


July 24, 2017
This weekend Kyara, the 3-month-old killer whale calf at SeaWorld San Antonio, was being treated at the park’s Animal Hospital for an infection. The dedicated team of veterinarians and care staff spent the last three days providing critical care for Kyara, but despite their best efforts, her health continued to decline and she passed away earlier today.

She was surrounded by the dedicated teams that cared for her over the last three months and fought tirelessly for her over the last several days.

Julie, just one of the orca trainers that spent countless hours caring for the San Antonio orca pod, including many nights with the calf, said “Kyara had a tremendous impact on each of her care staff, not to mention all of the guests that had the chance to see her. From late nights to early morning, rain or shine, we dedicate our lives to these animals, and this loss will be felt throughout the entire SeaWorld family.”

The team’s attention now turns to the rest of the orca pod, especially Takara, to provide the care and attention they need. The veterinary team will conduct a full post mortem examination to determine the cause of death. It may take several weeks before results are finalized. 

The global SeaWorld team is united in support of our San Antonio family as they go through this extremely difficult time.


Question & Answer:

When did Kyara die?
Kyara passed away early today, July 24, surrounded by the dedicated SeaWorld staff that not only cared for her for the last several months, as well as the staff that fought tireless to save her life over the last several days.

How did Kyara die?
Kyara had faced some very serious and progressive health issues over the last week that the animal care and veterinary teams had been aggressively treating. While the official cause of death will not be determined until the post-mortem exam is complete, we know that Kyara had an infection, likely pneumonia, and that her health continued to decline.

When was Kyara born?
Kyara was born in April to mom Takara at SeaWorld San Antonio.

Do you know what illness she had?
While the official cause of death won’t be determined until the post-mortem exam is complete, through monitoring Kyara’s behavior, and a physical examination, SeaWorld’s veterinary and animal care teams identified that she had an infection, likely pneumonia, that they were aggressively  treating. Pneumonia has been identified as one of the most common causes of morbidity or illness in whales and dolphins, both in the wild and in aquariums.

Why did you remove Kyara from her mom?
Our primary concern was the health of Kyara. The expert veterinary and animal care teams made the decision to bring Kyara to the husbandry pool at the Animal Hospital to ensure she received the necessary hydration and treatment. Additionally, Kyara had not been receiving the daily nutrition that she needed, so the teams supplemented that nutrition through hand-feeding multiple times each day.

How were you treating her? What medications was she receiving? 
Kyara was under 24-hr care and watch at the animal hospital at SeaWorld San Antonio. In addition to monitoring her 24/7, the expert veterinary staff was treating her with antimicrobials, including antibiotics, for any infections she was fighting. Additionally, the team was hand-feeding her in an effort to ensure she received the nutrition she needed.       

How is her mom, Takara, and the rest of the pod doing? 
Takara’s behavior was back to normal by the end of the weekend. Additionally, the rest of the pod is responding well and behaving normally. While the loss of Kyara is heartbreaking for the animal care, veterinary and training teams, as well as the entire SeaWorld family, our focus is now on continuing the care of the rest of the orca pod back at Shamu Stadium.

Is there any chance other killer whales will get this illness?
No other members of the SeaWorld San Antonio orca pod are showing any signs of illness, but they continued to be monitored and cared for by SeaWorld’s expert veterinary and animal care teams.

How will this impact the killer whale shows?
The One Ocean shows at SeaWorld San Antonio will be cancelled for the rest of the day, July 24. Guests should check the website, or with Guest Services, for scheduling for thre rest of the week.

Was this caused by being in captivity?
No. As we said earlier, we know that Kyara had an infection, likely pneumonia, and pneumonia has been identified as the most common cause of mortality and illness in whales in dolphins, both in the wild and in zoological facilities*. We are conducting a full examination to completely understand what ultimately caused her death.
*Venn-Watson, S., R. Daniels, and C. Smith. 2012. Thirty year retrospective evaluation of pneumonia in a bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus population. Dis. Aquat. Org. 99:237-242

Will you make the results of the necropsy public? 
Post mortem exams are detailed clinical investigations that include a good deal of laboratory testing. We will provide an update on as soon as the full results have come back.