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SeaWorld’s baby orca, last to be born in captivity, dies

A 3-month-old baby killer whale died Monday at a SeaWorld park in San Antonio, Texas, the park announced this week.

RELATED: Famed orca whale Tilikum of SeaWorld has died

The baby, named Kyara, died after suffering serious health problems. She was born in April at the park, and veterinarians believe she died of pneumonia.

SeaWorld said it would provide more information when the results are in from a post-mortem exam. The whale’s veterinary team suspects pneumonia was the cause because it is “a common illness in whales in both the wild and captivity.”

“Kyara had a tremendous impact on the entire zoological team, not to mention all of the guests that had the chance to see her,” San Antonio trainer Julie Sigman said in a statement. “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 was the last orca whale to be born at a SeaWorld park. Her mother, Takara, was pregnant last year when the company announced in March that it would end its killer whale breeding program. Orca gestation can last up to 18 months.

>> Related: How long are giraffes pregnant?

Kyara had been under 24-hour watch and had been hand-fed to supplement her nutrition, the park said. She had been separated from her mother in order to receive veterinary care.

SeaWorld has not collected a wild orca in nearly 40 years, and most of its orcas were born in captivity.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Petition: Replace Confederate monument with statue of Snooty the manatee

In the wake of the tragic loss of the world's oldest manatee in captivity, residents in Manatee County, Florida, have taken to the internet to remember the beloved Snooty with a statue that would replace a Confederate monument, the Bradenton Herald reports.

>> Watch a video about Snooty here

The Change.org petition had more than 3,200 signatures early Tuesday. “For a manatee as loved as he was in the community, it’s amazing to see the support,” said Anthony Pusateri, who started the petition. He said it will be submitted to the county and city of Bradenton for consideration.

Pusateri said he's not asking for the complete removal of the Confederate monument that now stands in front of the county courthouse. It could be moved to another location, he said, paving the way for Snooty to take the prime spot in the center of downtown Bradenton.

>> Famous Florida manatee, Snooty, oldest on record, killed in freak aquarium ‘accident’

The statue petition was not the only one filed in tribute to Snooty. Others call for renaming Lakewood Ranch and naming a new high school for the county's unofficial mascot. 

There was an outpouring of emotion Monday across Bradenton, where residents stopped to honor Snooty at the museum. They left flowers, cards, drawings from children, lettuce, carrots and a candle near the front door, according to the Herald.

Snooty drowned Sunday after becoming stuck in the life-support maintenance area at his home at the South Florida Museum, just two days after his 69th birthday. It's not yet known how he got stuck in the small tube, according to another Bradenton Herald story. 

>> Read more trending news

Divers inspected the tank Monday to ensure the safety of the museum's three manatees undergoing rehabilitation.

Jeff Rodgers, the museum's chief operating officer, told the Herald that a memorial service for Snooty is being planned, along with a special memorial on the museum's grounds.

The first recorded manatee born in captivity in 1948, Snooty had lived at the museum since 1949.

Read more from the Bradenton Herald.

Trump supporter cleans graffiti from president's Hollywood Walk of Fame star, goes viral

In the months since he has taken office, President Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame has taken a beating.

The ceremonial star has been smashed, drawn on and covered in stickers that protest Trump’s policies.

Earlier this week, a young Trump supporter decided to take care of the star – and won some praise from conservatives in the process.

>> Read more trending news

Makenna Greenwald of Wyoming posted a photo on Twitter this week of her attempt to clean up Trump’s damaged star.

“Stopped to clean @realDonaldTrump Hollywood star. Nothing but respect for MY President,” Greenwald wrote on Twitter, along with the #RaisedRight hashtag.

>> See the post here

Greenwald’s post has been shared more than 50,000 times and caught the attention of many high-profile conservatives, including Fox News’ Sean Hannity and Trump’s son, Eric.

“Wow. Great American. @CNN @NBCNews @JoeNBC (who calls the @POTUS a schmuck, liar, goon etc.). Watch and learn what respect for the office is,” Hannity wrote.

>> See his post here

“Thank you Makenna!” Eric Trump added.

>> See his post here

20-story hip-hop museum to open in New York in 2018

A neighborhood that birthed hip-hop heavyweights like Q -Tip, Doug E Fresh and Mase will soon be the backdrop of a massive museum.

>> Read more trending news

The first phase of the Hip Hop Hall of Fame Museum, projected to cost $150 million, will open in Harlem next February, according to Newsweek. Hip Hop Hall Fame, a nonprofit that aims to preserve and conduct research on the socioeconomic and cultural impact of hip-hop music, announced the plans for the museum last week.

The first phase of the new project is slated to include a cafe, a gallery, a visitors bureau and a gift store on the ground floor, and on the second floor, a museum, event space, offices and a multimedia studio, according to a news release.

The second phase will expand to 20 stories and include a hotel, mall, gift shop, an arcade, concert lounge and restaurant.

»RELATED: Study: Hip-hop has fewer drug references than any other music genre

James “JT” Thompson, who founded the Hip Hop Hall of Fame in 1996, has been working to bring the hip-hop museum and complex to life for several years, according to the New York Post.

“This has been a labor of love. It’s had its valleys, mountains, peaks and falloffs,” Thompson told the Post in reference to museum plans halting following the deaths of Tupac and Notorious B.I.G.

Pending the successful fundraising campaign for the museum, Thompson will see the fruits of his labor after 20 years.

“Hip-hop is about empowering yourself, moving beyond the music,” he told the Post. “The HHHOF and I have a duty and responsibility to preserve this rich history of music and culture.”

Fiona the baby hippo to make media appearance at Cincinnati Zoo

Four months after she was prematurely born, the media will be able to watch Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden’s Fiona the baby hippo in her outside habitat and pool, according to WCPO.

>> Fiona goes for a swim, internet goes crazy

The Cincinnati-based television station reports that Fiona, along with swimmers, will explore the Hippo Cove exhibit after the zoo closes.

>> Fiona the hippo turns 3 months old

Until now, the zoo has guarded Fiona’s access because of her weakened immune system and safety concerns. 

>> Read more trending news

Members of the media will be able to shoot photos and videos of the baby hippo during a time when keepers report that they have heard occasional vocalizations from Fiona, including grunts around meal time.

Cincinnati Zoo reopening gorilla enclosure one year after Harambe's death

May 28 marks a year since a child fell into a gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo, causing zoo officials to shoot and kill Harambe, one of the apes. 

Soon, fans of Harambe other gorillas will again be able to visit the famous ape’s former enclosure at the zoo’s Gorilla World.

>> Read more trending news

Gorilla World has been revamped with new safety precautions and is set to reopen to the public in June. A second phase of renovations will be complete and opened in November.

Changes include new landscaping, an energy-efficient stream and waterfall and a resurfaced outdoor habitat.

A new indoor area will also allow guests to see the gorillas year-round.

“We launched a fundraising campaign to expand Gorilla World in 2015 and have come a long way since we broke ground on the project last fall,” zoo director Thane Maynard said in a news release. “We’re on track to complete the new indoor environment this fall and excited to get gorillas outside in a few weeks.

According to Cincinnati.com, fundraising for the project raised $12 million.

Maynard said Gorilla World, which opened in 1978, had been well-maintained over the years, but the zoo’s “involvement in international gorilla conservation and concern for gorilla well-being at our zoo and everywhere influenced (the) decision to expand and revitalize.”

“We wanted to make it better,” Maynard said.

The zoo installed new barriers at the exhibit after a 3-year-old boy fell into the gorilla enclosure. The Cincinnati Zoo is home to at least 10 gorillas. 

Zoo officials say the new barriers include wooden beams and knotted rope netting.

Read more here.

Brianna Chambers contributed to this report.

Forget webcam: You can now visit April the Giraffe and her calf in person

Millions of people around the world followed April the Giraffe and the birth of her calf, Tajiri, from afar by monitoring Animal Adventure Park’s social media posts and livestreams of the pregnant animal.

But now animal lovers can see the mother-and-son duo up close because Animal Adventure Park, which is in Harpursville, New York, has opened for the season.

>> Read more trending news

According to Spectrum News, the line was lengthy to get into the wildlife park on Monday, which was opening day.

Tajiri, whose name was chosen by his keeper and means “hope” in Swahili, has already grown to 6 feet, 4 inches and weighs 180 pounds, according to the park.

Time is of the essence for fans of the giraffes, because according to People magazine, Tajiri will be moved to another zoo once he matures in order to prevent inbreeding.

Must-see: SeaWorld's last baby killer whale born in Texas

SeaWorld has welcomed its last baby killer whale.

The company announced in a news release that 25-year-old orca Takara gave birth to a calf at 2:33 p.m. CT Wednesday at SeaWorld San Antonio in Texas. Its gender "will be confirmed at a later date," the park said.

“This is an exciting and emotional day for us at SeaWorld, and we are all so proud to share this new killer whale calf with the world after a year and a half of planning and observing and providing all the special care,” Chris Bellows, vice president of zoological operations, said in a statement. “Takara is a great mom and immediately began bonding with and caring for her new baby. Every day, she inspires SeaWorld’s guests to learn more about and do more to protect animals in the wild. She is a true ambassador.”

>> Read more trending news

Visitors soon will be able to see the calf with its mother "during select times," the park said.

Last year, SeaWorld said it would stop breeding killer whales and halt its orca shows by 2019 following protests by animal-rights groups, The Associated Press reported.

Read more here and here.

April the giraffe fans, here's how you can help name the new calf

April the giraffe's long-awaited calf is finally here – but he doesn't have a name.

That's where her throngs of fans come in.

>> World rejoices as April the giraffe finally gives birth

The home of the proud mama, Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, New York, is holding a contest to name the new baby boy, born Saturday morning as 1.2 million viewers watched via livestream after months of anticipation. 

>> You can watch the birth here

To enter the contest, visit NameAprilsCalf.com. Votes are $1 each for a minimum of five votes. 

"For about 10 days, you can vote on any name or names you choose for April's new calf," the website says. "You even get to decide your own spelling. Come back and vote as many times as you'd like."

>> How long are giraffes pregnant? 

After the initial voting period, the park will reveal the top 10 names and hold another vote to determine the winner.

>> Read more trending news

The money will benefit giraffe conservation efforts, Ava's Little Heroes and Animal Adventure Park, the site saysLearn more here.

The park said it will livestream April and her calf through Thursday.

>> Watch the livestream here

Malta's Azure Window rock formation, featured on 'Game of Thrones,' collapses

An iconic landmark featured on HBO's "Game of Thrones" is no more.

According to The Associated Press, Malta's Azure Window, a rock formation on the coast of Gozo, collapsed Wednesday amid storms and rough waters following years of erosion.

>> Read more trending news

​Prime Minister Joseph Muscat called the loss "heartbreaking."

"Reports commissioned over the years indicated that this landmark would be hard hit by unavoidable natural corrosion," he tweeted. "That sad day arrived."

Read more here.

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