Second whale this year dies at SeaWorld Orlando


Fredi the pilot whale - PHOTO VIA SEAWORLD ORLANDO
  • Photo via SeaWorld Orlando
  • Fredi the pilot whale
A second whale died at SeaWorld Orlando this weekend, marking the second whale death at the theme park in 2019.

Fredi, a pilot whale who had "persistent health concerns" since being rescued from a 2011 mass stranding near Cudjoe Key, died on Saturday, April 6, according to SeaWorld. Kayla, a 30-year-old female orca at SeaWorld Orlando, died Jan. 28 after her health deteriorated, SeaWorld officials said.

Fredi was one of 23 pilot whales stranded in Florida in 2011. Thirteen whales perished on the beach, but eight whales, including Fredi, survived. Although two whales were returned to the ocean, Fredi was deemed "non-releasable" by the National Marine Fisheries Services after rehabilitation because she was a "dependent calf that could not be returned to the wild." SeaWorld was chosen to give Fredi a home in Orlando where they could rehabilitate her, according to the theme park.

In recent months, though, Fredi was showing signs of fatigue and loss of appetite, SeaWorld says. Physical and diagnostic tests showed the pilot whale had an infection. Despite an aggressive anti-microbial treatment to treat the persistent infection, Fredi's health declined sharply, according to SeaWorld.

"[Fredi] was no longer responding to treatment," SeaWorld says in a statement. "[She] lived the past eight years at SeaWorld with a pod of rescued pilot whales and received world-class care and a second chance she would not have had otherwise and provided the rescue team with invaluable knowledge on how to respond to, and care for stranded animals. She inspired millions of guests and her care team, and she will be deeply missed."

SeaWorld does not believe Fredi's infection was contagious, but they are monitoring the rest of pod.

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