Kotar (whale)

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Kotar was a male killer whale captured off the southeast coast of Iceland in October 1978. At the time of his capture he was only 210 cm long[1] and because of this it is believed that he is/was the youngest killer whale taken into captivity from the wild that survived.

He was bought by SeaWorld and sent to SeaWorld San Diego where he spent his first couple of years of captive life. He originally stayed at Shamu Stadium but was then moved to SeaWorld's petting pool.

At some point in the 1980s, he was transferred to SeaWorld Orlando. Kotar played "Shamu" in JAWS 3-D in 1983. In 1987, Kanduke, a male killer whale, bought by SeaWorld from MarineLand had arrived to Orlando. Kotar and Kanduke did not get along and often fought, the aggression eventually getting serious; after an incident in which Kotar bit Kanduke's penis and caused an infection and show cancellations, the decision was made for the smaller whale to move to the newly opened SeaWorld San Antonio.

Kotar was moved to SeaWorld San Antonio in 1988 where he remained for the rest of his life.

Kotar died on 1 April 1995, after a gate he was playing with had closed onto his head and caused a fractured skull and severe blood loss.

During his time in captivity, Kotar has sired six offspring; Takara, Keet, and Keto as well as three others that resulted in early deaths or stillbirths.


  1. ^ Hoyt, Erich 1990. Orca - The Whale Called Killer. E.P. Dutton, New York