The last killer whale born in captivity under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding programme has died after just three months at the company's theme park in San Antonio, Texas.

Kyara died on Monday (24 July) after veterinarians had been treating her for an infection but her health continued to decline.

SeaWorld announced earlier this year that they will be ending its captive breeding programme after years of pressure from campaigners only for Kyara's mother, Takara, to be pregnant at the time.

In the coming days a veterinary team will conduct a post-mortem examination to determine the cause of death although the company said her cause of death was "likely pneumonia". Official findings could take several weeks.

The Orlando-based company has not kidnapped a wild orca in nearly 40 years, so most of its killer whales were born in captivity.

Whale trainer Julie Sigman said in a statement: "Kyara had a tremendous impact on the entire zoological team, not to mention all of the guests that had the chance to see her."

"The heart and support that has gone into caring for her throughout Takara's pregnancy until today has been amazing. As animal caregivers we dedicate our lives to these animals, and this loss will be felt throughout the entire SeaWorld family."

Kyara
Takara with the newly-born Kyara at SeaWorld San Antonio, Texas.SeaWorld

Kyara was born to 26-year-old Takara in April but was conceived before the programme's end as orca gestation can last up to 18 months.

When she became ill Kyara was kept under 24-hour watch, the park said in a press release, and had been hand fed for several days away from her mother to avoid risking the spread of disease.

The company has said that no other whales in her pod have shown signs of infection.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) released a statement saying: "SeaWorld executives have dollar signs where their eyes should be."

Former SeaWorld orca trainer, John Hargrove, who appeared in the anti-SeaWorld documentary BlackFish, tweeted following the death: "SeaWorld is insane- continuing to say their orcas are healthy and thriving despite death after death from illness and disease."