This week, an 18-year-old killer whale died at SeaWorld in San Antonio after struggling with an illness for many months. The whale, named Unna, was a 4,600-pound orca, and died from a resistant strain of a fungus called Candida, according to CNN.
“We are saddened to share the passing of Unna. Unna had been under the constant care of the SeaWorld veterinary team and outside experts for the past several months,” SeaWorld said in a statement.
This is sadly the third whale to die in SeaWorld parks in the past few months. As we reported just last month, a two-year-old beluga whale named Stella died in captivity at the same San Antonio location as Unna.
“As at least 58 Beluga deaths at Sea World fatalities have proven, Belugas simply cannot be bred in tiny concrete tanks that deny them everything that is natural and important to them,” PETA’s Director of Animal Law, Jared Goodman said.
“Like the others before her, Stella died far, far short of the 50 years that Belugas can live in their natural ocean homes, and her preventable death is one of the many reasons why PETA is calling for an end to Sea World’s deadly Beluga-breeding program,” he added.
SeaWorld contends that their parks are more like veterinary clinics than zoos, because according to the company, they nurse sick animals back to health and keep them in captivity because they would not be able to survive on their own. However, these claims are mostly rejected by animal rights activists.
For the past few years, SeaWorld has been under heavy scrutiny, due to criticism from animal rights activist who say that they mistreat the whales and dolphins that they have in captivity. The theme park has been at the center of controversy since the 2013 release of the documentary “Blackfish”, which exposed the inhumane treatment of its animals.
In figures released earlier this year, it was shown that SeaWorld’s income dropped from $37.4 million in 2014 to $5.8 million in 2015, and attendance dropped by more than 100,000 tickets.
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