Corky 2 with her first calf. Corky was captured off the coast of British Columbia in 1969. She was purchased by a California park, Marineland of the Pacific. In 1977 Corky the first calf to be conceived and born in captivity. Trainers had no idea of Corky’s pregnancy, so the birth came as a surprise. The male calf made no attempt to nurse, and Corky was unable to nurse as the pool was too small and round to properly perform nursing maneuvers. After 18 days, the calf died of pneumonia. Corky went through a total of 8 pregnancies in the span of 12 years. Because orcas have 18 month gestation periods, this means Corky was basically kept continuously pregnant for 12 years. After her final pregnancy, which ended in a miscarriage, Corky stopped ovulating at 22, an abnormally young age for orcas who normally reproduce into their 40s. Corky was quite a maternal whale and is credited as being a good mother, but of her four live calves, the oldest lived for only 47 days. In 1987, Corky was moved to Seaworld San Diego where she still lived today. Calves that had been separated from their mothers due to death and aggression have been introduced to Corky due to her maternal and gentle nature, and she has acted as an “adoptive mother” to these few. She is still used as the introductory whale to orcas who are transferred to the park. After 45 years, Corky has been captive longer than any other orca in the world, and is the second oldest orca currently kept in captivity at 48 years old. In the wild, female orcas normally do live to be about 40-50 (though they can live to be 100!), so Corky is one of the few captive whales to reach the average age of wild killer whales.
SeaWorld has welcomed the newest member of the SeaWorld family of killer whales. Takara, the 25-year-old matriarch of the SeaWorld San Antonio orca pod, gave birth to the calf at 2:33 p.m. central time, April 19, 2017.
SeaWorld committed to stop breeding killer whales in March 2016. The calf was conceived naturally (likely with Kyuquot, but Tuar could also be a possibility) prior to SeaWorld’s decision to stop breeding.
Killer whales are born after a 17 month long gestation. At birth they weigh around 300lbs and are around 6 feet long.
There is no confirmation on the sex of the calf yet.