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SeaWorld’s Takara No Longer Considered Pregnant

May 24, 2012

At the risk of over-exciting all my skeptics, who think I pull SeaWorld orca pregnancies out of my ass, I have been getting word that SeaWorld Texas’ Takara is not pregnant. Takara was one of a number of SeaWorld pregnancies that I wrote about last November. All seemed normal, and SeaWorld considered Takara to be pregnant, but in March her progesterone levels dropped below a level consistent with pregnancy. An investigatory sonogram did not reveal a fetus, but it was not clear whether she had lost the fetus (though she had not passed one) or simply had experienced a false pregnancy.

The failure of Takara’s pregnancy raised a question about the sperm of Kshamenk, the male from Argentina’s Mundo Marino, which had been used in Artificial Insemination (AI) procedures on both Takara and Kasatka. Kshamenk’s sperm is one way for SeaWorld’s captive breeding program to get beyond a preponderance of Tilikum genes, so it is important to the future of orca breeding at SeaWorld. But Kasatka’s pregnancy is progressing, with a fetus visible on sonograms, so Kshamenk’s sperm is at least viable.

So Takara will not be giving birth along with Kasatka and Kohana. However, she seems healthy despite the false or failed pregnancy, and SeaWorld plans to try and inseminate her again by mid-summer. Not sure whether they will use Kshamenk’s sperm again. But SeaWorld also has an AI and sperm collection arrangement with Marineland Antibes in France, which used sperm from SeaWorld California’s Ulises to impregnate their younger female, Wikie. That led to the birth of a calf called Moana last year. Marineland Antibes has two males, Valentin and Inouk, who are sexually mature and presumably could also be used as sperm donors for SeaWorld’s breeding program.

SeaWorld Florida also has plans to AI Kayla sometime soon (in March I mentioned she was next on the AI list), though apparently she does not cycle normally, so the timing is a bit tricky.

That’s all the orca pregnancy news I have for the moment. So let the skeptics have at it…

18 Comments leave one →
  1. May 24, 2012 1:58 pm

    SW also have Oscars sperm from Kamaogawa SeaWorld in Japan. But I suppose an MLF whale would be a better choice genetically.

  2. May 24, 2012 1:59 pm

    i dont even understand why it is permitted that they breed these poor animals.
    Kshamenk is in terrible conditions in Argentina and nobody seems to care. I hope somebody up high will do something

    • Kelsey permalink
      May 24, 2012 2:07 pm

      Thank you!! SW uses Kshamenk, is all for the welfare of orcas yet doesn’t do anything to help him, or help MM improve his living conditions. Again prove they just want his “services” if you get what I mean. They also took Ike away from Kiska for his future “services” as well, not caring if they left Kiska alone…SW is a heartless company. If it doesn’t benefit them, they don’t care…

    • May 24, 2012 2:32 pm

      Not to mention that Sakari is way too young for Takara to have been bred again.

      I agree with you about Kshamenk (though, I don’t agree that nobody cares for him, there are people fighting for him right now) SeaWorld exploited because they have royally screwed up their own breeding program.

      • Harry permalink
        May 24, 2012 5:10 pm

        Just because her current calf is young, that will not stop them.
        SeaWorld abused the hell outta Kalina, by popping out a baby and ripping it from her for another time and time again. Kalina never was with any of her children longer than two years and the poor girl, up until her death, never saw a single one of them again.
        They don’t care about the social structures or the wellbeing of the babies or mothers. Just $$$ a newborn brings them.

  3. Laura Spalinger permalink
    May 24, 2012 2:28 pm

    exploiting these magnificent mammals for profit is a sin.

  4. Max permalink
    May 24, 2012 5:53 pm

    Of course Kshamenk sperm is viable, he got Belen pregnant twice!! Please, at least make some research before writing articles!

    • May 24, 2012 7:08 pm

      Yes, it is clearly viable. The question is whether it is well-suited for Takara.

    • Jordan permalink
      May 24, 2012 8:24 pm

      Yeah, but one of those calves ended up being stillborn.

  5. Max permalink
    May 24, 2012 8:58 pm

    But the result of his offsprings do not have anything to do with the fact that sperm is viable or not. The articles says ” But Kasatka’s pregnancy is progressing, with a fetus visible on sonograms, so Kshamenk’s sperm is at least viable.” What I am trying to explain is that we didn’t need Kastka’s pregancy to know that his sperm is viable, because he has already had two calves. Of course, one of them was an stillborn, and then Belen died during her fourth month of pregnancy.

    • May 24, 2012 9:47 pm

      We needed Kasatka’s pregnancy to know that the AI sperm Kshamenk donated to SeaWorld is viable. Lots of things can go wrong with frozen sperm.

  6. Naomi permalink
    May 24, 2012 9:11 pm

    So Katsatka is pregnant, I thought that was not true. Kohana pregnant again? C.R.A.Z.Y is all I am going to say

    • Jimmy P permalink
      May 25, 2012 9:01 am

      Kohana’s situation has people worried, since she’s being bred so frequently at such an irresponsibly young age. It could seriously affect her health for the future and if they continue to have her pop out babies at this rate she could be in serious danger. Not to mention they will probably have to hand-rear this calf to which is still risky.

  7. Max permalink
    May 24, 2012 11:41 pm

    OK, I understand now. You were talking about the AI sperm, you should have clarified that in your article so as to avoid any confusions. Thanks for clearing up!

  8. June 5, 2012 12:20 am

    Tim, what is your opinion on SeaWorld overall? Plus, will you be posting anything about Shouka’s court situation?

    • June 5, 2012 4:51 am

      I don’t know much about Shouka’s situation beyond what is in the news. Overall, I think that SeaWorld is a world class business that elevated orcas to iconic status over the years, and therefore helped make people really care about them, which is very important. But I also think SeaWorld tends to put business above the welfare of the animals and trainers, and is reluctant to be straightforward about the realities and moral conflicts inherent in keeping marine mammals in captivity.

  9. Kim permalink
    August 29, 2012 7:26 pm

    Since this article was posted, Kahana has given birth to a little girl named Vickie. Kahana’s rejected her to, so she’s being hand raised. She’s probably going to be a loner like her brother. Poor Kahana, and the rest of the captive whales. They don’t deserve this kind of torchure.


  1. Orca Breeding Update: Takara Pregnant « Tim Zimmermann

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