TORONTO—National animal law organization Animal Justice is renewing its call for Marineland to be investigated and prosecuted following the death of Kiska—an orca who faced decades of confinement at the Niagara Falls aquarium. For the last 12 years of her life, Kiska was held in her barren tank completely alone
Kiska endured a lifetime of suffering since she was stolen from her family as a baby near Iceland in 1979, and sold into the aquarium industry. Kiska gave birth to five babies, all of whom died young. In recent years, Kiska’s plight made global headlines as videos surfaced showing her floating listlessly in a barren concrete tank, and at times bashing her body against the wall of her tank.
Animal Justice fought to help Kiska for over a decade, including by filing legal complaints on her behalf demanding that Marineland be investigated and prosecuted for keeping her in inadequate and unlawful conditions that experts say caused distress. Animal Justice also helped to pass a provincial ban on keeping orcas in Ontario in 2015, and a national ban on keeping whales and dolphins in captivity in 2019.
“It is heartbreaking to know that Kiska will never have the chance to be relocated to a whale sanctuary, and experience the freedom that she so deeply deserved,” said lawyer Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice. “While no other orca will have to suffer the cruelty of captivity in Canada again, we are demanding justice for what Kiska endured at the hands of Marineland. We are calling on provincial authorities to make public the results of a post-mortem, and prosecute Marineland for the unlawful distress Kiska clearly experienced throughout her final years.”
Animal Justice hopes this tragedy galvanizes support for the Whale Sanctuary Project, which is working to build Canada’s first seaside whale sanctuary in Port Hilford, Nova Scotia, and that other whales and dolphins at Marineland will be able to live out of the rest of their lives in a safe environment with hundreds of times more space than the tiny tanks they currently endure.
Executive Director, Animal Justice