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Killer whale dies at SeaWorld in San Diego; orca shows canceled


Sumar, a 12-year-old killer whale, died mysteriously Tuesday at SeaWorld in San Diego, forcing cancellation of the orca shows at Shamu Stadium, officials at the park said.

The male orca began acting lethargic on Monday and was given antibiotics by park veterinarians. But his condition worsened and he died at about 1:45 p.m. A necropsy is planned.

The show will resume Wednesday.

Sumar, approximately 15 feet long and 5,300 pounds, had been at the San Diego park since 1999. He was born at the SeaWorld park in Orlando, Fla., on May 14, 1998, and spent some months at the SeaWorld park in Ohio before being transferred to San Diego.

While still a calf, Sumar's mother, Taima, attacked him during a show at the Orlando park. The two were separated permanently, and other female orcas acted as Sumar's surrogate mother.

In San Diego, Sumar was a star of the orca shows and was considered a possible candidate for breeding. Six orcas remain at the park.

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Sumar. Credit: www.orcahome.de

Comments () | Archives (73)

Enough animal abuse already!

Sad. These amazing creatures belong in the open ocean, not in a pen.

It is not surprising that morbidity and mortality are high at Sea World, for the animals are confined and tortured for their entire life for the entertainment of patrons.

...and what is their life expectancy in the wild?

12 years in captivity? Lived to a ripe old age.

I'm sorry but its wrong. No, I'm not a PETA advocate because those people have to be caged themselves for the over-the-top outrageous behavior they have.

To put anything into a caged environment for our enjoyment should be stopped. It's great that the masses can now see something so rare, but not right to do.

I wish traveling to the Pacific Northwest to see Killer Whales was financially possible for everyone (including myself) and seeing the wild of Africa. Maybe some genius can make that happen to everyone. If you disagree go the the Los Angeles Zoo. It's like a state pen with little amenities for their guest (animals).

WILD ANIMALS do not belong in captivity. How would you like to be trapped, forever, in a bathtub? Proportionately, that's what it's like for killer whales in places like SeaWorld. Everything about it is wrong--they're not able to use their natural functions for navigating, finding food, socializing, migrating...NOTHING. These places need to be shut down.

Sumar was a beautiful animal. I got the chance to visit him when my family took me to San Deigo in February of 2007. Each and every orca has inspired me to want to study these animals...only, I want to study the wild populations. Especially for this reason.

I will miss you Sumar.

I don't think these animals should be locked in man made aquariums. I just wish people would stop harming them in the wild too. If you haven't seen the movie The Cove you should rent the DVD now. Dolphins and Whales are wonderful animals and should be able to live in peace in the oceans.

orcas can live 90 years in the wild, so when the hell are people going to wake up and see that this crap is just plain wrong??? Wild animals belong in the wild and not caged for human enjoyment. The fact that his mother had attacked him is very strange, too, because they don't do that in the wild, either....shame on seaworld, again and again and again..and shame on people who think that this is okay.


it didnt happen monday, it happened today! tuesday

How very sad...too many 'caged' animals die prematurely, more than we realize. And all for 'our' entertainment. I personally will not attend these type of shows, incl the circus.
Rest in peace, Sumar, at least you are now free, as you were meant to be.

Sumar probably wanted a sure way out. These tragedies will CEASE when we, the public, stop financing the captivity of one of the most intelligent creatures we share the planet with. If you really don't want this to happen, then 'vote' with your dollar and stop supporting animal prisons.

Just let them go. . .

About 70 in the wild.


They live 50-80 years in the wild.

Sumar's mom attacked him while she was still a calf? :P

Poor Orca, poor us, poor everything on earth. Whether in natural environment, or living in some enclosure, life is one constant battle for every living thing. Most living things have something else out to get it, and if not, time itself will get it.

You people who think these animal shows are just simply for our gross entertainment are clueless. There are so many positive things that come from Zoo's and such.

Endangered species are protected and re-populated due to the hardwork that is done by all Zoo's across the country with their databases.

While looking at wild, strange, big, creatures can be entertaining, there are many kids who are truly inspired to learn more about these animals and some are even inspired to make it their lifes goal to help animals, and become veterinarians, biologists, and researchers.

It is amazing to see a child's face when they see an animal they've never seen before standing right in front of them, it's REAL. There is so much crap on TV kids are exposed to, there is nothing like seeing, smelling, hearing and wondering in person.

It is time to amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act to keep these creatures out of places like Sea World, whose negligence led to the death of the young woman trainer this year and now this. Even Dr. Lanny Cornell Freed Willy.
Write to your Senators and Congressmen now.

Antibiotics for lethargy? Seems odd if there was no infection. But, waddo I know?

just out of curiosity, what does one do with a dead whale?

Their life expectancy in the wild is far more than just 12 years. I agree with Howard, orcas do not belong in captivity. Nor do elephants, for that matter. I live in western WA and there are wild orcas living in Puget Sound. They've been there for years and people respect them and leave them alone. Too bad every animal isn't treated with that kind of regard.

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