After years of suffering from a respiratory infection while trapped in SeaWorld’s lonely tanks, Kasatka was euthanized by veterinarians on the evening of Tuesday, August 15.
Kasatka may have died just yesterday, but her life was actually taken from her nearly 40 years ago, when humans abducted her as a 1-year-old from her pod and ocean home off Iceland and sold her to SeaWorld. Kasatka spent the rest of her life as a prisoner in cramped, concrete tanks. She never experienced the ocean again.
Kasatka’s podmate Katina was captured alongside her, and the two lived together for about six years until SeaWorld decided to ship Katina—Kasatka’s only friend—across the country, to SeaWorld Orlando in Florida.
The rest of Kasatka’s life was surely hell for her, as she was used as a moneymaking tool to line SeaWorld’s pockets.
During her time trapped at the parks, she was forced to perform in as many as eight shows a day. She had to endure the stress of being artificially inseminated over and over, having her calves taken away, and being shipped across the country to different parks at SeaWorld’s whim. She was transferred to different locations 14 times in an eight-year period.
She gave birth to four calves—some after being artificially inseminated with Tilikum’s sperm—and is a grandmother or great-grandmother to eight other orcas. When her first calf was 3 years old, Kasatka’s mate was killed after a pool gate closed on his head, fracturing his skull.
As the years passed, Kasatka started showing increasing signs of aggression, especially around her calves. She attacked her trainer three times, once pulling him to the bottom of a tank by his legs after she heard her baby crying from a separate pool.
SeaWorld officials say they started treating Kasatka for a bacterial respiratory infection in 2008. According to a San Antonio Express-News investigation, illness and infection have been contributing factors in more than half of the orca deaths at SeaWorld’s parks.
— Ingrid Visser (@OrcaIngrid) June 20, 2017
Help Orcas Like Kasatka
It’s too late to help Kasatka, but don’t let her death be in vain! Share her story, and urge SeaWorld to do the right thing and start building seaside sanctuaries for the other orcas trapped inside its tiny tanks, including Kasatka’s daughter. Seaside sanctuaries would allow the remaining animals to live in a more spacious and safe environment in the ocean, where they could be monitored but would no longer be forced to perform tricks for human amusement.