SeaWorld San Diego’s baby killer whale celebrated a big birthday Friday, turning one year old.
Baby Shamu, whose name is Makani, celebrated his milestone birthday on Valentine’s Day. The killer whale was born at 6:33 a.m. on Feb. 14, 2013, to mother Kasatka. He was the sixth successful killer whale birth at SeaWorld San Diego.
One year later, the baby killer whale has grown into an independent, energetic calf, according to trainers. He’s known to spend lots of time swimming and playing with his siblings, Nakai and Kalia.
SeaWorld says the small whale continues to nurse regularly, getting most of his nursing nutrition from his mother.
He also eats about 15 pounds of fish daily.
Kristi Burtis, animal training supervisor at SeaWorld San Diego, says Makani has made great strides over the past year, interacting with all trainers. He’s also been socialized with all nine adult whales at the park, Burtis said.
At birth, Burtis said Makani weighed more than 350 pounds and was a little over seven feet in length. Today, Burtis said “baby” Makani weighs in at more than 1,100 pounds and measures more than 11 feet in length.