SAN DIEGO — On Friday, SeaWorld San Diego announced the tragic loss of their 20-year-old orca, Nakai to an infection.
Nakai was born at SeaWorld San Diego in 2001.
CBS 8 reached out to SeaWorld San Diego and they provided the following statement:
"The zoological team at SeaWorld San Diego is mourning beloved orca Nakai who passed away last night while surrounded by the animal care and medical teams who had worked closely with him for 20 years. Every attempt was made to save his life. Veterinarians and health specialists had been actively treating an infection, but aggressive therapeutic and diagnostic efforts were unsuccessful. Nakai was born at SeaWorld San Diego in 2001. He'll be remembered as a curious and quick learner, often picking up behaviors just by observing the other whales in his pod. Because of these natural abilities, Nakai participated in hearing studies to help scientists better understand the impact on orcas of noise from ships and other human activity. His contributions to helping improve the health and survival of whales in the wild cannot be underestimated and will never be forgotten."
One member of Nakai's team who cared for him for 20 years said:
"I have been professionally and personally invested in the welfare of Nakai since he was born in our park, and the bond we shared was very strong. He was very friendly and an overall playful guy who loved to interact with people. It was a joy to care for and learn from him and I will miss him greatly. He was a huge part of my life and of our family here at SeaWorld San Diego. We appreciate the support of the community as we grieve his loss together with his loyal fans everywhere."
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