It was recently revealed that another orca had passed away while in captivity at SeaWorld, according to representatives at the franchise’s San Antonio location.
Unna, who was 18 years old at the time of her death and was born at SeaWorld Orlando, died after spending months battling candida. Candida is a fungal infection that has been known to have a debilitating effect on orca whales who live in close quarters.
SeaWorld is aware of the issue and as a result, they attempt to portray candida as a natural part of a whale’s existence. They describe it as being “pervasive” and a common issue for whales and other sea creatures.
However, the Merck Manual sees things much differently, calling fungal infections an undesirable result of sustained captivity. The Merck Manual is a highly respected veterinary medicine encyclopedia and they state that captive animals are especially prone to these infections.
The infection that Unna contracted was also unable to be treated with antibiotics, according to SeaWorld’s press releases. Former SeaWorld trainers have spoken out in the wake of this information, alleging that they are responsible for infections such as these, due to the fact that they regularly dose their whales with large amounts of antibiotic medication.
This is not advisable, since it can lead to the development of infections that are resistant to drugs. Unna is just the latest SeaWorld whale to fall short of her expected lifespan. A female orca is typically able to live at least 50 years in the wild and their life span can last as long as 100 years in certain instances.
Tragically, Unna is now the second whale to have passed away at SeaWorld San Antonio in as many months. A beluga passed during the previous month, after just two years of life. This is especially tragic, since belugas are able to live for up to 60 years out in the wild. SeaWorld San Antonio also recently laid another beluga to rest at just three weeks old.
SeaWorld has promised to make the results of Unna’s necropsy public once the process has been completed. They also released a statement, declaring that this was a difficult time for their team and that they appreciated the outpouring of well wishes from Unna’a many fans and admirers.
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This post will be updated with more information if it becomes available.