Keet, a killer whale who has been moved multiple times, re-joined SeaWorld San Diego on Monday from sister theme park SeaWorld San Antonio.
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The killer whale was flown in a tank from Texas to Lindbergh Field aboard a C-130 cargo plane, according to a SeaWorld representative. The whale and a team of logistics personnel, animal care specialists and veterinarians arrived between 5:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.
After arriving, Keet was transferred from the airport to SeaWorld on the back of a large flat-bed semitruck. It took about two hours to drive slowly to SeaWorld and to transfer him to a large tank.
Another killer whale, a 40-year-old female named Corky, watched the entire process. She was determined to find out more about her new tankmate being lowered in -- a tank that Keet has been in before.
The 7,000-pound, 19-year-old whale, was born at SeaWorld San Antonio and transferred to San Diego in 1999. In early 2000, he was sent to SeaWorld Ohio. The next year he was sent back to San Diego, where he stayed until he was transferred to San Antonio in 2004. Now, he is back in San Diego.
"I really believe they have good memories," said former orca trainer Shawna Karrasch. "Sights, sounds, feelings: about people and places and I do believe that."
According to a SeaWorld representative, Keet was brought back to San Diego "to enhance the groupings of the killer whale family."
Karrasch told 10News that even with all the moves SeaWorld's killer whales are happy.
"I believe they are really happy animals. That's a bone of contention for some people, but from being there firsthand I had to make sure I was comfortable. They are happy animals," Karrasch said.
However, animal advocates disagree.
PETA told 10News that moving Keet is unnecessary.
"For SeaWorld to shuttle Keet across the country repeatedly from park to park in order to breed more animals for its tawdry shows is hugely stressful to him," said David Perle of PETA.
SeaWorld San Diego maintains that the safety and welfare of the animal remains a top priority.
It is unclear how long Keet will be in San Diego this time.
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