Whale Wednesday: Spotlight on Kayla

Following on from last week’s Whale Wednesday‘s spotlight on Orkid, we’re going to look at another whale born into captivity.

Meet Kayla, a 27 year old female born at SeaWorld Antonio on the 26th of November 1988 to Kenau and Orky 2. She was the first calf to be born at the park.

10- Kayla

Kayla’s Life at SeaWorld

However, in 1992, Kayla was transferred to SeaWorld Ohio with another young orca named Katerina. A few years later, a male named Keet joined the ranks and Kayla became close to him.

They mated and produced their first calf together named Halyn on October 9th, 2005. Sadly Halyn died in 2008 after being rejected by her mother and was hand reared by trainers. It has been speculated that Kayla didn’t fully know how to look after a calf which led to her rejecting her in the first place.

Kayla was sent to SeaWorld Orlando in 2006 with the intention of teaching Kayla how to look after a calf by learning from the other more experienced mothers at the park. It was later learned that Kayla miscarried in April of 2007, which may have been the reason behind the original move.

Kayla’s Temperament and Behaviour

At Orlando, you can ususally see Kayla interacting with Katina, Nalani, Malia and Makaio the most. She used to be very proficient at waterwork and only had a few instances where she bumped her trainers.

By Tim Ross (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
She is  one of the more energetic whales in SeaWorld’s collection. She has been known to be able to string together various difficult behaviours and perform them consistetly. She is a very gentle whale and is often seen swimming and playing with younger calves.

One of Kayla’s behaviours has recently come to light in the form of an old VHS recording of a show which shows a curious Kayla sliding our from the tank and over the protective barriers of the pool in 1995. Although it wasn’t reported as an act of aggression, it’s still quite terrifying that she was able to do this – even if she was just getting a closer look at her audience.

How To Identify Kayla

Kayla can often be hard to ID, espeially if she is performing with Katina. Her dorsal fin curves slightly to her left and she has a point on her right false eye patch near her eye, which also contains a few freckles. She measures about 20 feet in length and weighs over 5,700lbs.

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