Corky II - orca

From WikiAnimal

Sex: Female

Weight: 3,600 kg

Pod: A5

Location of Capture: Pender Harbour off the coast of British Columbia

Date of Capture: 12th December 1969

Age at Capture: approx. 3

On December 12, 1969, a group of twelve Orcas were captured in Pender Harbour in British Columbia, Canada. Of those 12 whales, only six were taken captive; known as Calypso, Kenny, Patches, Nepo, Yaka, and Corky II.

Corky II, who was just 3 years old at the time, was soon sold to Marineland of the Pacific in Rancho Palos Verdes, California along with Kenny and Patches. When they arrived, they met the two resident whales, Corky and Orky II. Unfortunately, Corky died in 1970, Patches in 1971, and Kenny died in 1972. As a result, Corky II and Orky II were left alone at the park.

When Corky II was 11 years old, however, she mated with Orky II and became pregnant with her first calf, the very first conceived in captivity. The male calf was born on February 28, 1977; though Corky II had never learned how to care for a calf. Marineland staff attempted to step in and tube-feed the calf, but he died on March 16 at only 16 days old.

On Halloween in 1978, Corky II gave birth to her second calf, another male who was named Spooky who also was unable to nurse due to Corky II’s inexperience. He died 11 days later on November 10. Two years later, Corky II would give birth to a stillborn calf of unknown gender.

In 1982, Corky II gave birth to her fourth calf, a female later known as Kiva. Despite Corky II being trained to present her mammary glands to the calf, Kiva was still unable to nurse requiring staff to step in after 3 days to bottle-feed Kiva. She began to gain weight and grew stronger, but as she grew, she became somewhat independent from Corky II, which she did not like. Corky II would often bring her calf back quickly, sometimes interrupting feeding sessions and playing rough by lifting Kiva out of the water. The number of daily feedings were reduced, but Corky II’s behavior persisted, prompting staff to move Kiva to a separate tank. She appeared to be doing fine until her breathing rate suddenly increased on the second day, followed by Kiva’s death on August 3 at only 48 days old.

Finally, on July 22, 1985, Corky II gave birth to her fifth calf, another female who did not receive a name. Once again, the calf was unable to nurse, and staff had to step in again; though Corky II was a good mother otherwise and was gentle with her daughter. Unfortunately, this calf also died on August 20, 1985.

After this calf, Corky II suffered two miscarriages before she stopped ovulating all together. During her last pregnancy, she and Orky II were moved to SeaWorld San Diego after Marineland was sold.

Orky II was bought by SeaWorld mainly for his use in their breeding program, and sired two females known as Orkid and Kayla. Unfortunately, Orky II died 3 days after the birth of his first daughter, Orkid. Trainers decided to name the calf Orkid, which is short for “Orky’s Kid”.

Corky II almost immediately began having issues with the other whales who were of Icelandic origin. Kandu V, Orkid’s mother who was captured from Iceland in 1977, was the dominant female at the San Diego park. Corky II would often try to steal Orkid away from Kandu V, which created tension between the females, and led to a deadly incident on August 21, 1989.

Corky II was performing a show with Orkid while Kandu V was held in a back pool. When Kandu V was let out of the back pool, she quickly swam in and rammed Corky II in an attempt to show dominance over her. However, this resulted in Kandu V’s jaw being fractured, severing several major arteries and causing her to bleed out for over 45 minutes.

Despite being described as a gentle whale herself, it has been noted in her SeaWorld profile that Corky II has been involved in several incidents, including pushing trainers, preventing one trainer from exiting the water, as well as mouthing a female trainer’s ponytail.

During her time at the park, Corky II became a surrogate mother to many young whales, including a young male named Splash who suffered from epilepsy and was moved from Marineland Canada to SeaWorld for better care.

Corky II has also been recorded displaying a strange type of behavior in which she will log for a few seconds before taking a breath and sinking to the bottom of the tank. It’s been noted that this only occurs when she is placed with the Icelandic male Ulises, who is more dominant than Corky II.

She also has been known to show interest particularly in people in the underwater viewing area who are carrying plush Orca toys. This obsession began after the loss of Spooky, her second calf. She would spend hours staring at the plush Orca toys in the gift shop; some speculate they may remind her of her calves.

In 1993, a news segment aired on ABC Nightline about Corky II. In the video, reporter Judy Muller plays audio recordings of the Northern Resident A5 pod, which Corky II responded to strongly, along with the other whales in the tank with her. In the video, she can even be seen shuddering as she listens to the recording.

Currently, Corky II is one of the oldest captive orcas in the world.

See also