|September 23, 1988
SeaWorld of California
|SeaWorld San Diego
|♀ Kandu V ♂ Orky II
Orkid is a female orca who lives at SeaWorld San Diego. She was born on September 23rd, 1988 at SeaWorld San Diego to Kandu V and Orky II. She was the first orca born successfully at the park. Orkid’s father died a few days after her birth and her mother died the following year. Orkid is considered to be the most intelligent orca in captivity.
On September 23, 1988, a female orca named Kandu V from Iceland gave birth to her second calf, a female offspring fathered by the Northern Resident male Orky II. Sadly, Orky II passed away just three days after his daughter's birth, and as a result, the calf was named Orkid, symbolizing her connection to Orky.
Following Orkid's arrival, tensions arose between Kandu V and another female named Corky II, who had previously given birth to seven calves, all of whom tragically died within two months. Consequently, Corky II made several attempts to snatch Orkid away from Kandu V.
A fatal incident occurred between the two females on August 21, 1989, when Orkid was only eleven months old. Corky II and Orkid were performing in a show while Kandu V was located in one of the back pools. As soon as Kandu V was released from the pool, she immediately swam into the show tank and rammed into Corky II.
Corky II reportedly suffered a gash on her stomach, but Kandu V ended up fracturing her jaw, causing severe nasal bleeding from major artery damage. Sadly, Kandu V bled out over a period of approximately 45 minutes, while Orkid remained by her mother's side.
Following Kandu V's untimely demise, Corky II and Orkid formed a strong bond, with Corky II assuming the role of a surrogate mother to the orphaned calf. Orkid developed friendships with other orcas through this connection, as Corky II cared for multiple younger orcas. Orkid also formed a close relationship with a young male named Splash, who was transferred to SeaWorld in 1992 from Marineland Ontario to receive better care for his epilepsy and seizures. In 1995, when Splash suffered a seizure and collided with a gate, Orkid was among the orcas that helped him reach the surface and receive medical treatment in the medical pool.
Orkid also shared a deep connection with another male named Sumar, born in 1998 to Taima at the Orlando park. Due to Taima's aggressive behavior towards her calves, they were separated, and Sumar was relocated to the San Diego park in 1999 at just one year old. Corky II subsequently acted as a surrogate mother to Sumar, and Orkid formed a friendship with the young orca. Unfortunately, both Splash and Sumar passed away, Splash in 2005 due to a perforated stomach and Sumar in 2010 due to a twisted intestine.
Similar to her mother, Orkid displayed signs of aggression, with 17 recorded incidents starting as early as one year old. According to Orkid's SeaWorld profile, she has been observed bumping, mouthing, pushing, jaw popping, and pulling trainers underwater on multiple occasions.
One notable incident occurred on August 7, 2002, when a female trainer named Tamaree was sitting by the edge of a back pool interacting with Orkid and Splash. A video captured by a park guest showed Tamaree talking to the orcas and intermittently placing her foot on Orkid's rostrum, contrary to safety protocols. Eventually, Orkid seized Tamaree's foot and pulled her into the water.
According to former trainer John Hargrove in the 2013 documentary "Blackfish," another trainer arrived and removed a chain from the gate as a signal to Orkid that the older and more dominant female Kasatka was entering. Orkid and Splash subsequently released Tamaree, who escaped the incident with only a broken arm.
There have been instances of aggression during artificial insemination procedures involving Orkid and the trainers. Orkid has shown a dislike for these procedures, and in 2007, she caused minor injuries to a trainer by swiping her head and making contact, which resulted in the trainer being knocked over a wall. While Orkid has engaged in natural mating with males in the past and has undergone artificial insemination multiple times, she has not been successful in achieving pregnancy thus far.