It's an orca! Last killer whale is born at a SeaWorld park

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The delivery comes a year after the theme park said it no longer would breed captive killer whales.

"With this being the last killer whale birth at a SeaWorld park, this is the last opportunity for researchers to study orca development in ways that can not be done in the wild, helping to conserve this awesome species", the park said in its press release.

After 18 months of waiting, we are excited to welcome a new member to our family of #killerwhales!

Last year, SeaWorld said it would stop breeding killer whales and halt its orca shows by 2019 following protests by animal-rights groups, The Associated Press reported.

SeaWorld says both mom and calf appear healthy.

Despite the criticism over their breeding programme, SeaWorld's chief zoological officer, Chris Dold, described the birth was a celebration because any whale birth is "extraordinary".

It's been a big year for killer whales.

Takara gave birth Wednesday afternoon at the park.

Tell us, HollywoodLifers - are you happy this is the last baby orca born in captivity at SeaWorld? The backlash intensified after the 2013 release of "Blackfish", a documentary critical of SeaWorld's orca care.

But public opinion turned against keeping orcas, dolphins and other animals in captivity for entertainment past year thanks in large part to the 2013 release of "Blackfish", a documentary critical of SeaWorld's orca care.

Tilikum, who sired 14 calves over 25 years in the park, died in Janaury. Trainers plan to share their observations of Takara and her calf with researchers hoping to learn more about the animals, Kay writes. It brings SeaWorld's orca population in the U.S.to 23. Two are with her in San Diego, one is in Orlando and another is on loan to a theme park in Spain.

Last March, SeaWorld President Joel Manby said this would be "the last generation of orcas in our care".

The last baby orca born in captivity at SeaWorld will reportedly be allowed to remain with its mother.

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