Kyara, the 3-month-old baby orca at SeaWorld San Antonio, died on Monday. According to Park officials, Kyara was being treated at the SeaWorld’s Animal Hospital, and she most likely died from pneumonia.

Kyara developed complications due to an infection

Kyara was the last killer whale bred in captivity under Sea World's orca breeding program. In a press release, park officials said that Kyara had developed complications due to an infection, and despite receiving 24/7 monitoring from SeaWorld veterinarians, her condition was getting worse day by day.

The staff at the Park even handfed her for many days to ensure that she receives proper nutrition. Kyara was being treated with antibiotics and antimicrobials, but all attempts to save her life failed in the end. Julie, an orca trainer who spent several hours with Kyara, said Kyara had a remarkable impact on care staff, and her loss will be felt throughout the SeaWorld family.

According to SeaWorld, the exact cause of Kyara's death could only be ascertained following a full post-mortem exam, which may take some weeks to be completed. SeaWorld said pneumonia is a common cause of illness in dolphins and whales, both in aquariums and in the wild, and that no other whales in the park have shown signs of infection so far.

In February 2016, a 36-year-old captive whale Tilikum had also died of pneumonia.

SeaWorld’s captive breeding program

Kyara was born in April this year from a captive whale named Takara. She was last to be born in the Park. Her Mother was pregnant when SeaWorld, in March 2016, announced to end its captive breeding program. The gestation period for orcas is about 18 months.

SeaWorld was forced to stop the captive breeding program following protests from animal groups against keeping dolphins, orcas, and other animals in captivity for entertainment. SeaWorld then announced that it would phase out its whale performances by 2019.

Public protests against SeaWorld breeding program intensified following the release of documentary “Blackfish” in 2013, which criticized orca care at this Park.

The documentary focused on the orca Tilikum that had killed trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010. Tilikum dragged Brancheau into the pool after “Dine with Shamu” show. According to documentary's co-writer, Tim Zimmerman, Tilikum was suffering from boredom, confinement, and aggression from park orcas and trainers.

Following Kyara’s death, SeaWorld’s San Antonio, Orlando, and San Diego parks now have 22 orcas, the youngest being Amaya who was born in 2014.

Colleen O'Brien, a spokeswoman for ‘People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ said 40 orcas have died so far in SeaWorld, and now the Park should immediately move remaining animals to seaside sanctuaries before another animal dies at the Park.