Another week, another bad headline for the country’s most successful whale jail.
An 18-year-old female orca named Unna died at SeaWorld San Antonio on Monday, park staff announced in a statement. The whale suffered from a fungal infection of the bladder called Candida, and had been receiving medical treatment of late.
Candida, which causes lesions to appear near orifices on the body, occurs in both wild and captive populations of cetaceans (whales and dolphins). However, as the blog of a group of former SeaWorld trainers-turned-activists points out, it’s likely that stressors from life in captivity could have weakened the whale’s ability to fight off the infection.
The park said that it was “saddened” at the whale’s death, adding that it will “cancel all the killer whale shows at SeaWorld San Antonio today.”
SeaWorld’s animal care has been under extreme scrutiny lately, with outrage from the documentary “Blackfish” fueling a movement against the park. Unna is the third whale to die in just six months at the company’s chain of parks.
At the San Diego park, local authorities have become so fed up with the park’s practices that the California Coastal Commission only approved a $100 million expansion projects under the condition that the park stop breeding orca whales.