According to park guests at SeaWorld Orlando, Jozu, SeaWorld's last false killer whale is critically ill and has been moved into Animal Care.
Park guests who did not wish to be identified, told Digital Journal that the 17-year-old false killer whale who performs in SeaWorld's Blue Horizons show was so ill, that she had to be removed for emergency care.
SeaWorld Educators, who narrate and answer questions at animal exhibits and presentations, even reportedly told guests at one point that the "black whale" had died. Jozu's habitat, the Manatee, Whale and Dolphin Theater, along with the dolphin petting pool, were all closed down at midday on Saturday, during peak park hours.
Jozu [SWF-PC-9401], is the last surviving false killer whale at SeaWorld Orlando and in fact, in the Continental US. She was born in captivity at Orlando on Sep. 3 1994 to Hana and Teri, and is the last of sixteen Pseudorca crassidens, to have lived at the Orlando facility since 1976.
Jozu also had a half-sister. Akira was born in December 1993 but died in 1998 at just four years of age. Once Jozu's parents died, only three false killer whales remained: Jozie, Sukie and Cassie. Sukie and Cassie died in 2005 and 2008 respectively, and Jozu became SeaWorld Orlando's lone surviving false killer whale.
According to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), false killer whales are large members of the dolphin family. Females reach lengths of 15 feet, and males almost 20 feet. Jozu at 17 is considered a young false killer whale. Even though they have low reproduction rates, these whales have a maximum longevity of 63 years.
Prior to becoming ill, Jozu resided at the Manatee, Whale and Dolphin Theater, where she has been her entire life before becoming ill. Although there is no official word on her condition, it is believed the whale was moved into a partially drained pool indicating that she might not be strong enough to swim on her own.
Jozu's illness follows the death of Sully the pilot whale, who died at the San Diego facility on May 23. A SeaWorld spokesman said Sully died of unknown causes and had a history of chronic illness.
Update: SeaWorld is now reporting that Jozu died on June 04, 2012.