Shamu - orca

From WikiAnimal

Sex: Female

Pod: Southern Residents

Place of capture: Carr Inlet, Washington State

Date of capture: October 31, 1965

Age at capture: Approx. 4 years

Being the first ever intentionally caught orca, Shamu was originally captured by Ted Griffin and Don Goldsberry on Halloween in Carr Inlet. She was meant to be a companion for Namu at Griffin’s Seattle Marine Aquarium, though they did not get along.

In December 1965, she was sold to SeaWorld San Diego and became the first Killer Whale in their collection. SeaWorld had only been open for a year before Shamu’s arrival, but when they realized how much of an attraction Shamu was, they began adding more orcas to their collection.

On April 20, 1971 as part of a publicity stunt, SeaWorld secretary Annette Eckis was convinced to ride on Shamu’s back. Things started out well, but without warning, Shamu threw Eckis off her back before seizing the woman by the leg and pushing her around the tank. Trainers attempted to pull Eckis out of the pool but Shamu refused to let go of the woman’s leg. Finally, trainers pried open Shamu’s jaws and pulled Eckis to safety. She was carried away in a stretcher, and received 200 stitches in her leg.

Afterwards, Shamu was retired from shows. Not long after this, Shamu died on August 23, 1971 due to Septicemia and a uterine infection known as pyometra.