Jan. 29 (UPI) -- A 30-year-old orca whale named Kayla died suddenly this week at SeaWorld in central Florida, but officials aren't sure yet what killed her.
The whale started showing signs of discomfort at the Orlando, Fla., park last weekend and her condition had worsened by Sunday. Veterinarians unsuccessfully worked to stabilize her condition and she died early Monday.
"The entire SeaWorld family is deeply saddened by the loss," the theme park said in a statement. "Kayla's care team shares a special bond with her and is deeply saddened by her death. While today is a difficult day for all of us at SeaWorld, Kayle inspired generations of guests and employees to care and learn more about this amazing species."
Marine mammal scientist Dr. Naomi Rose of the Animal Welfare Institute said 30 is in the prime of an orca's life. Kayla was the second-oldest captive-born orca in the world. Like humans, killer whales can live as many as 90 years.
"That's like literally being a 30-year-old woman. Dying at 30 is not normal," Rose told the Orlando Sentinel.
Specialists are now keeping a closer eye on other animals in the park.
"It is possible the other orcas could be affected socially by her passing, and the orca behaviorists will be monitoring the other whales closely," SeaWorld said in a statement. "We don't, however, anticipate any physical health issues amongst the other orcas."
SeaWorld's image has struggled since the release of the Blackfish documentary, which showed whales being mistreated in captivity. Attendance dropped at SeaWorld parks and the company's financials suffered. SeaWorld stopped its orca breeding program in 2016, not long after the documentary's release.
SeaWorld has 20 remaining orcas at its parks in Orlando, San Antonio and San Diego. SeaWorld Entertainment, the parent company, has not yet released its fourth-quarter earnings.