Nancy FosterDirector, Office of Protected Resourcesand Habitat ProgramsNational Marine Fisheries Service1335 East-West Highway, Room 8268Silver Spring, Maryland
Foster:Please find enclosed a gross necropsy and histopathology report
a female killer whale of approxima,tely
16 years, identifiedas SWF-00-7803. The animal died suddenly and without warning neardawn on May
1991.For security reasons, killer whales at Sea World of Texas areattended twenty four hours a day.. The three whales (one male, twofemales) maintained at Sea World of Texas had spent an uneventful'
night resting together. The officer
duty observed a suddenturbulence of water around one of the whales. The .other two whalesremained quiet and undisturbed in a distant part of the pool. The
officer proceeded immediately to th.e
of the disturbance andobserved evidence of some bleeding from the mouth of the whaleinvolved. The officer immediately informed the park dispatcher ofan animal emergency. Curatorial personnel
promptly notifiedby the dispatcher and arrived at the killer-whale pool within tenminutes of the emergency report. The government was notified ofthe death, and a necropsy was performed.The immediate conclusion drawn from the gross necropsy report
that the animal died
skull fractures and blood loss.Further
of the post mortem findings identifies an intestinaltumor of neural origin which
of a type kl~own to be capable ofproducing excruciatinq pain.
believe the killer whaleexperienced a sudde:~
significant amount of pain while restiny,causing
panicked and uncontrolled response.
a result, shecollided with the pool wall causing multiple skill fractures whichinduced rapid loss of blood an,l cerebral contusions leading to aswift death.
brief history of the animal
necessary for an unders'tanding ofthe circumstances surrounding her death.
Texas10500 Sea Vdorld Drive