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SeaWorld Looks For Answers In Whale’s Death

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SeaWorld San Diego officials hope to find out why a performing killer whale died in the prime of its life. Park veterinary staff hope tissue and blood samples will provide answers.

SeaWorld San Diego officials hope to find out why a performing killer whale died in the prime of its life. Park veterinary staff hope tissue and blood samples will provide answers.

Sumar, a 12-year-old orca that had been at the Mission Bay tourist attraction since 2001, died from the as-yet unidentified disease or condition Tuesday afternoon.

SeaWorld spokesman Dave Koontz said the lab work may determine what killed Sumar.

"We don't have very many animals pass in a year so we hope to learn as much as we can, not only about what might have caused Sumar's death but also what might be learned from analysis of his remains," said Koontz.

Koontz said it could take several weeks to get the results.

He said veterinarians took blood samples from the orca and put him on antibiotics Monday after he began acting lethargic.

Koontz said whales can live into their 30s and 40s and the death of such a young whale is a mystery.

He said Sumar was a young adult that had no history of serious medical problems.

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