Makani was the very first marine mammal I had the pleasure of seeing born.

That amazing day was Valentine’s Day (February 14, 2013) and it is a day I will never forget. Makani is our little Valentine, a sweetheart that is so full of love. In my opinion he is the cutest killer whale (also known as Orcinus orca or “orca”) here at SeaWorld San Diego.

Makani is a super playful whale that loves all toys, especially ones he can push and throw around the pool. In our Dine with Shamu pool we have a water sprayer that is activated by a sensor. Makani was the first whale in our orca family to figure out how to trigger the sensor to get the water spraying. You can see him bowing or splashing in front of the sensor to activate it. Makani has also taught some of the other whales how to activate the sprayer.

Because of his independent and playful nature, you can often see him playing with the other whales, especially his niece, Amaya. He and Amaya have an extremely close bond and you can see the two playing together throughout the day. This little whale always makes me laugh and smile. He gets so excited to interact with his trainers, usually making a variety of different vocalizations, as well as welcoming guests into the stadium or at our Killer Whale Underwater Viewing window.

He is a quick learner and has a lot of energy, which makes watching his behaviors a treat. He currently weighs 2,235 pounds, but continues to grow at a very fast rate. Makani was conceived through artificial insemination. His mother, Kasatka, is the matriarch of our killer whale family. It has been an amazing journey for me to watch this little whale born, take his first breath and continually grow into such a fun and wonderful whale. I love that I have been a part of his life from the beginning and I am excited for all the years to come.

I hope reading this gives you some insight in to how much this little whale is truly loved and that you can see what makes him so special, especially to me.

-Katey, Senior 1 Animal Trainer

Quick Facts

  • Born: February of 2013
  • Male
  • Weighs 2,235 pounds
  • Measures nearly 12 feet long
  • Distinguishing Physical Characteristics: Trainers say he is shaped perfectly like a little football; second smallest of the San Diego pod
  • Research involved in: calf development study, breath sampling (CO/CO2) study, photographic assessment of body shape changes study, hearing study

Katey, Senior 1 Animal Trainer


I began my SeaWorld San Diego career in 2007, and have worked with sea lions, otters, dolphins, walruses, pilot whales and most recently, killer whales.