December 9, 2015
Ran 2, a 9-year old female orca from Port of Nagoya traded out with Earth, a 7-year old male from Kamogawa SeaWorld. The move was done when blood tests revealed that Ran had reached sexual maturity. Plans are for her to be artificially inseminated using sperm from one of SeaWorld’s (U.S.) whales, no word yet on which one it will be.
Ran 2 leaves her mother and younger sister at Port of Nagoya to return to her birth-park, Kamogawa SeaWorld. She has already been reintroduced to her her two older sisters Lovey and Laura and meet her niece Luna for the first time. Ran had been moved with her parents, Bingo and Stella, in December of 2011 to Port of Nagoya to facilitate Stella’s latest pregnancy. So far re-introductions appear to be going smoothly as all whales involved, minus young Luna already know one another.
Earth on the other hand is leaving both his mother and the only facility he has ever known to join with his grandmother Stella and younger aunt Rin. So far introductions appear to be going smoothly, it is impossible to know if Earth recognizes his grandmother or she him as they were separated 4 years ago when Earth was roughly 3 years old.This move was fairly inevitable given that all 7 Orca currently held in Japan are from the same immediate family. However I have to wonder why they choose Ran to be their first candidate for A.I. instead of Laura. Had they chosen Lara they could have delayed the move for several more years. With Earth the only male of the group, they didn’t have to worry about possible inbreeding until he reached sexual maturity at around age 15 (he is 7 now).
Even though Earth is moved away from his mother, sister and aunt at Kamogawa, he is still at risk of inbreeding at Nagoya. The only two whales there are his grandmother and his aunt Rin. Maybe officials are hoping that Stella enters menopause before Earth is sexually mature?
Though unfortunately it seems little Rin is most likely going to be moved to Kamogawa when she reaches maturity, just like her sister Ran did. Otherwise she will risk inbreeding with her own nephew, Earth.
Source: Kamogawa SeaWorld