More SeaWorld Orca Pregnancies?
Earlier today, I got confirmation that Kohana, at Loro Parque, is pregnant. Here is a recent photo showing her gravid profile:
Now I am also picking up whispers that SeaWorld’s Kasatka and her daughter Takara are also pregnant, via Artifical Insemination (AI) that was conducted over the summer. The donor: Kshamenk, an Argentinian killer whale.
Kasatka is a 34-year old female at SeaWorld San Diego. She was captured off Iceland in 1978, when she was about one year old, and in 2000 became the first SeaWorld female to be artificially inseminated (with sperm from Tilikum). That pregnancy led to the birth of Nakai, who is still at SeaWorld San Diego. Kasatka is also the mother of Takara (born in 1991 and now at SeaWorld San Antonio), and Kalia (born in 2004 and still at SeaWorld San Diego).
Kasatka has a history of aggressive incidents with trainers, and in 2006 dragged trainer Ken Peters repeatedly to the bottom of the pool. Trainers have not been allowed to swim with her since.
Takara, Kasatka’s daughter, is the mother of Kohana, who was born in 2002 (and if she successfully carries her current pregnancy to term will have given birth twice before she turns 13). Takara is also the mother of Trua (born in 2005 and now at SeaWorld Orlando), and Sakari (born last year and still at SeaWorld San Antonio).
The use of sperm from Kshamenk, a killer whale who was captured in Argentina in 1992 and now lives at Buenos Aires’ Mundo Marino, is a new wrinkle in SeaWorld’s captive orca breeding program. A majority of SeaWorld’s killer whales have Tilikum’s genes, and there has been a lot of concern about a genetic bottleneck within SeaWorld’s breeding pool. Training Kshamenk to give sperm donations, and using his sperm to impregnate Kasatka and Takara adds completely distinctive Argentinian killer whale DNA to the SeaWorld sperm pool.
Kshamenk lives alone at Mundo Marino: