More Tragedy For SeaWorld This Week – A Visitor Drowns And Another Orca Dies (Update 10/7/10)

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Although completely unrelated, the death of a visitor on the amusement park’s water ride and the sudden death of an orca in her prime must have SeaWorld reeling, following as they do on the heels of the trainer’s death in February and the loss of two other orcas this year. (At the time of this writing, no information has been released about the drowning victim, other than that the 68 year old man died while on a river rapid ride at the amusement park.) [UPDATE: The following information has been released.

Former police inspector Ivan Henson, 68, served 36 years with the old Isle of Ely Constabulary and later Cambridgeshire police. After Mr Henson retired he took up a ‘second’ career at Ridgeons where he worked for ten years as a security officer. He was on holiday when he was knocked unconscious on the Roa’s Rapids ride at Seaworld Orlando’s Aquatics. Emergency services at the scene report that Mr Henson was unresponsive after they reached him at 11.12am on Monday and that he was pronounced dead at the hospital just before noon. A Cambs police spokesman said today:”Ivan was one of life’s gentlemen. He was a fine policeman and very well known. He will be much missed.” Read the full story about Mr. Henson’s life.

Kalina performing (Creative Commons photo)

The orca, named ‘Kalina’, was the first captive born orca to survive to adulthood, and her death at the age of 25 just underscores how wrong it is to keep these animals in captivity, where their lives are unnatural and shortened.

Kalina’s father (‘Winston’) was one of the Southern Resident orcas that were caught in the devastating Penn Cove capture in 1970, a tragic event that resulted in the death of many whales. Her mother, ‘Katina’, is an Icelandic orca.

Kalina was only six years old when first impregnated, still a juvenile (births before the age of 12 are extremely rare in the wild). She had four calves in her lifetime, and was apparently a gentle and loving mother – and since orcas stay with their families for life, it must have been hard to have her calves taken away.

She was moved from Florida, to Ohio, to California, to Texas, then back to Florida.

She had at least thirty different tank mates.

As far as I could determine, Kalina was living with her mother and at least some of her siblings when she died. I hope this is true, and that it means that SeaWorld is becoming more compassionate in their management of these sensitive and kind animals, allowing them to remain together in family groups.

For a photo essay of Kalina’s life in captivity, please visit OrcaHome’s webpage

The news report of her death:

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL, FOX 35) – Kalina a killer whale at SeaWorld died suddenly late Monday night.

According to a statement from the park the 25 year old whale showed no signs of illness as recently as Friday and had a good appetite on Sunday, October 3. She began exhibiting signs of discomfort Monday afternoon and died suddenly in the early evening.

A necropsy will be performed, but the cause of her unexpected death won’t be known for up to six weeks.

Kalina was born at the park in September 1985.

The following information is from Ocean Depths:


Date of Birth 26 September 1985

Place of Birth Seaworld Florida

Mother Katina

Father Winston

Family Siblings: Katerina, Unna, Nalani, Taku, Ikaika
Nieces and Nephews: Nalani, Trua
Offspring: Skyla, Keto, Keet, Tuar
Granddaughters: Kalia, Halyn

Meaning and origin of name

“flower” in Slavic,
“rowan tree” in Bulgarian.
“wild rose” Bulgarian

First Orcas to meet Kona 2

Blood Type 50% Icelandic, 50% Southern Resident




Eye Color
Transfers Seaworld Florida (September 26 1985 – February 12 1990)
Seaworld Ohio (February 12 1990 – October 1990)
Seaworld California (October 1990 – May 30 1991)
Seaworld Texas (May 30 1991 – October 1994)

Reproductive Mates
Kotar | Tilikum

Tank Mates

Kona 2 September 26 1985 – October 1987
Kotar September 26 1985 – February 1988 | May 30 1991 – October 1994
Katina September 26 1985 – February 12 1990 | October 1994 – Present
Kasatka Winters 85, 86, October 1990 – May 30 1991
Kahana Winters 85, 86
Kanduke January 1987 – February 12 1990
Gudrun November 1987 – February 12 1990 | October 1994 – February 25 1996
Katerina November 4 1998 – February 12 1990
Taima July 11 1989 – February 12 1990 | October 1994 – Present
Corky 2 October 1990 – May 30 1991
Orkid October 1990 – May 30 1991
Samoa February 12 1990 – October 1990 | May 30 1991 – March 14 1992
Haida 2 January 1993 – October 1994
Kyuquot January 1993 – October 1994
Keet February 2 1993 – October 1994
Tilikum October 1994 – Present
Taku October 1994 – November 17 2006
Nyar October 1994 – April 1, 1996
Keto June 17, 1995 – March 8, 1999
Unna December 27, 1996 – December 2002
Sumar May 15 1998 – March 8 1999
Tuar June 22 1999 – April 24 2004
Tekoa November 8 2000 – April 24 2004
Takara April 25 2004 – February 6 2009
Kohana April 25 2004 – February 13 2006
Skyla February 9 2004 – February 13 2006
Trua November 25 2005 – Present
Nalani September 18 2006 – Present
Kayla November 17 2006 – Present
Malia March 12 2007 – Present

Random Facts

* Was the first ever calf to be born successfully and survive to maturity
* She has conceived four calves; Keet, Tuar, Keto and Skyla
* became the first grand mother in captivity.
* She had her first calf at the age of 8, being impregnated with Kotar at SWT.
* She teaches her calves to independent and is a loving, caring mother.
* She is a very careful orca when it comes to humans, she never shows any signs of aggression
* She loves to perform.

Physical Features

* Her dorsal leans to the left
* Freckles on her chin
* Narrow eye patches
* Freckled flukes
* Notch at base of dorsal fin

Rest in peace, Kalina.

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