An orca whale performs during the One Ocean show at SeaWorld San Diego. SeaWorld in Orlando and in Southern California are pursuing strategies more typical of regional theme parks. (K.C. Alfred/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS)
The fungal infection that the 18-year-old orca contracted was called Candida. She contracted the infection earlier this year and began undergoing treatment in September.
"Unna had been under the constant care of the SeaWorld veterinary team and outside experts for the past several months," the company wrote on Facebook. "The team had developed a novel treatment plan in consultation with leading medical experts around the country. While there were some indications that the treatment was having a positive effect, Unna had remained in serious condition and under 24/7 care."
Veterinarians gave Unna medications that had previously not been used with killer whales. Side effects included loss of appetite, which her veterinary team supplemented with fluids.
The park will conduct a necropsy to determine cause of death.
“This is a difficult time for the SeaWorld team and all of Unna’s many fans, and we thank you for your thoughts and well wishes,” SeaWorld wrote in a statement.
Unna is the third whale to die at the Texas park in the last six months. In November, Stella, a 2-year-old beluga whale, died after being treated for gastrointestinal issues. A newborn beluga died in July after being born premature.
The San Antonio park canceled all killer whale shows Monday. Last month, the company announced it would phase out orca shows at its San Diego location.