Loro Parque tourist attraction in Tenerife, Spain has announced the death of Kohana, a 20-year-old orca transferred to the facility from SeaWorld in the US in 2006.
According to Loro Parque, Kohana had health issues that were identified some time ago, but the cause of death is unknown at this point.
At the age of only two years old, Kohana was transferred from SeaWorld San Diego to SeaWorld Orlando together with her mother Takara. Two years later, she was separated from her mother and transported to Spain together with three other young SeaWorld orcas.
Separation and transportation are extremely stressful for these highly social and intelligent marine mammals. In 2010, at the age of only eight years old, Kohana gave birth to a male calf, later called Adàn. However, Kohana showed no interest in the calf and Adán was raised by the trainers at the facility. He is still alive at present, however his sister Victoria, Kohana's 2nd calf born in 2012, died at the age of only ten months old. As Kohana had never learnt how to raise a calf, she also showed little interest in Victoria.
In the wild, the bond between orca mothers and calves are extremely close and last for a lifetime. Captivity can never replicate their complex social structures or give them the space they need.