Well, it’s definitely been a while since I had a blog completely focused on captive killer whales, and it’s not a moment too soon to get back into highlighting their plight! With many orcas still being caught and shipped to marine parks, I’m going to have my work cut out – especially with trying to fit in the Russian orca’s into the list!
However, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. This time, I’m focussing on an orca currently residing in Japan – it’s Lara’s turn for being in the spotlight!
Lara’s Early Life
Lara has never felt the natural rhythms of the ocean. She is a 15 year old female orca who was born at Kamogawa SeaWorld on February 8th, 2001, making her 15 years old.
Her mother is Stella and her father was Bingo, making Lovey her big sister. She can often be seen interacting with her extended family, spending a lot of her time with her sister Lovey and her two calves; her nephew Earth and niece Luna.
Her Maternal Instinct
Although Lara has never had her own calf, she appears to be very attentive when it comes to helping her family look after their calves. She has been seen to help both her mother Stella and her sister to raise their calves, playing an integral role in their upbringing.
YouTube Credit – Wikie Olivia
According to Orcapod wiki, Lara is being trained for artificial insemination and it was looking likely that it would be a SeaWorld male that would have been a viable partner. However, as the ban on breeding in the US means that no semen can be shipped off to other parks around the world, we will have to see whether Lara will be artificially inseminated at all.
In an ideal world, they will leave her be to ensure that gene pools do not cross within the park if they were to use another male that has been used before, but I will update this blog once we find out what is to be done with her.
Lara has been trained as a waterwork whale, and there has never been any documented reports of aggression towards her trainers.
How to Identify Lara
Lara is 17.3 feet in length and weighs around 4,850llbs. She is a 100% Icelandic orca, as both her parents were Icelandic-caught wild orca.
YouTube Credit – LoveCetaceans 11
Lara has a slightly bent dorsal fin which leans to the left near the tip. It is also quite rounded and curved backwards.
Eye patch wise, her right patch is quite fat and rounded towards the bottom of the patch. Her left patch is slightly elongated and comes to a point near her eye.
Her tail flukes are very rounded on the edges, and she has a speckled edge around the base of her fluke. She also has a perfect “tuxedo” belly; the white section perfectly thinning towards her belly button.
Although there isn’t much info on Lara – like many of the Japanese whales – it’s important to know her story. I will continue to document the lives of captive orca to help you – the people wanting to know more – understand their history!