BBCI: Last SeaWorld orca born in captivity dies 'of pneumonia'

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Vets at the San Antonio amusement park lost the battle to save three-month-old killer whale calf Kyara from a suspected infection.

Kyara, a 3-month-old calf, was born at the San Antonio park in April and faced progressive health issues not caused by being in captivity, according to the park. "While the official cause of death will not be determined until the post-mortem exam is complete, we know that Kyara had an infection, likely pneumonia, and that her health continued to decline", Sea World said. She had been separated from her mother in order to receive veterinary care.

The illness is a common killer of orcas and dolphins, the park said. Kyara and Takara are pictured here. Her mother, Takara, was pregnant a year ago when the company announced in March that it would end its killer whale breeding program.

SeaWorld has announced plans to introduce new "natural orca encounters" in place of theatrical shows.

The backlash intensified after the 2013 release of "Blackfish", a documentary critical of SeaWorld's orca care.

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Two of the deaths happened at SeaWorld Orlando, a man who trespassed into the park and Tilikum's trainer Dawn Brancheau who was killed in 2010.

Instead of performances, SeaWorld will offer visitors the chance to view the orcas for 45 minutes.

The next youngest, Amaya, was born in late December 2014. Oscar-nominated actor James Cromwell was cited for trespassing at a SeaWorld San Diego protest.

The Human Society praised SeaWorld for its decision to end the breeding program, but pushed the park to make more changes, including ending similar programs for other captive animals.

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