Kayla is a 29 year old female orca who lives at SeaWorld Orlando. Her mother is Kenau and her father is Orky 2. She was the first killer whale to be born at SeaWorld San Antonio.
Kayla is about 20-foot (6.1 m) long and weighs about 6,200 pounds (2,800 kg). Kayla lived with her mother for the first two and a half years of her life. Kenau was moved to SeaWorld Orlando in January 1991, and Kayla was moved to SeaWorld Ohio in April 1991. Kayla lived there for the next eight years with another young female, named Katerina, who was three weeks older than she was. After Katerina was moved out, an older female named Winnie was moved in.
In November 1999, Kayla and Winnie were both transferred to SeaWorld San Antonio. Kayla and Winnie joined a female named Haida II and her son Kyuquot. A young male named Keto arrived in March 2001. Haida II died on August 1 of that year, making Winnie the new dominant female. Winnie died on April 11, 2002. Kayla became the new dominant orca in the stadium and was until her relocation to Orlando in 2006. After the death of Winnie, only three whales were left in the park: Kayla, Kyuquot, and Keto. A young female by the name of Unna was moved to the park in December 2002 to settle down Kyuquot and Keto, because the two maturing males were constantly fighting over Kayla. In November 2006, Kayla was transferred to Sea World Orlando leaving behind a mate Keet, and their daughter Halyn was raised by Unna immediately after Kayla's transfer. Once Kayla arrived, she immediately gave up her dominant role to Katina, who has been the dominant female there since 1988. In spring 2007, Kayla miscarried a male calf, likely the son of Keet.
Kayla gave birth to her first calf on October 9, 2005, a female named Halyn. Halyn was moved to a special animal care facility to be hand raised. Halyn lived in Animal Care in a different part of the park, and in May joined her family at Shamu Stadium. Halyn's father is Keet. On June 15, 2008, Halyn died unexpectedly.
Kayla is often grouped with Katina, Trua, Nalani, Malia and Makaio. Trua's mom moved to another park in 2009 and it was decided to see how Kayla would do as a surrogate after rejecting her calf. She and Trua got along very well. Katina is the dominant orca at the park and will put Kayla in her place when she acts out. She has also been a great teacher when it comes to taking care of calves and how to run a pod. Kayla was very good at waterworks and did them often. She could often be seen doing waterworks with multiple whales.
Kayla loves her trainers attention and loves to please. She used to do waterworks before they were stopped in 2010 and was never aggressive with trainers though she did bump them a few times when she was younger. This usually occurred when she was cycling or pregnant and became moody. She has been a very gentle whale with her trainers and other orcas though she would be dominant towards the more submissive orcas. She displayed this a few times with Kalina.
Kayla is a very energetic whale and does great with the more advanced behaviors. She is very smart and will often be asked to incorporate multiple things into one behavior, such as doing some sort of jump while vocalizing, thrashing her head, spitting water, waving her pecs or doing multiples of those at once.