It took five days, but the verdict on baby killer whale Shamu is in. It's a girl!
Officials determined Shamu's sex Wednesday after their underwater cameras finally gave them a good look at the infant's underside, San Diego Sea World spokesman Dan LeBlanc said.They would have preferred a male for breeding purposes because there is a shortage of males in captivity and whales cannot be taken from the wild any longer, but park officials aren't complaining.
"She's healthy. We'll take her," LeBlanc said.
Shamu, born minutes before a scheduled whale show Friday, is estimated to weigh 250 pounds. She has been nursing continuously, consuming three to four gallons of milk daily, while swimming in lazy circles with her mother, Kandu, in the park's 5-million-gallon tank.
Veterinarians said Shamu's father, Orky, who died suddenly on Monday, suffered symptoms of old age. He was estimated to be between 27 and 32 years old, which would have made him the oldest captive killer whale in North America, said Sea World curator Jim Antrim.
Orky's death leaves only two males at the country's three Sea World parks: a 25-year-old in San Antonio, Texas, and a 12-year-old in Orlando, Fla.