Painful video of lonely Marineland orca revives calls to shut the park down

Animal lovers and activists have long been decrying the continued operations of Marineland, the Niagara Falls attraction criticized for many of its practices — namely, the decades-long captivity of intelligent wildlife in supbar conditions.

Onging protests, petitions and more have helped lead to new legislation such as the Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act, passed in 2019, but the 60-year-old park still remains open, to much controversy.

Newly-released footage of one of the most well-known animals in the zoo, a lonely killer whale named Kiska, has reignited the indignation of those who believe such creatures deserve a far better quality of life — ideally, one in the wild — than Marineland can provide.

Posted by a whistleblower and former Marineland employee on Friday, the 35-second-long video shows Kiska floating dejectedly near the surface of the water in her concrete pool, appearing nearly dead at points.

As poster Phil Demers or "the walrus whisperer" points out in his now-viral tweet, Kiska, Marineland's last survivng orca and the last captive orca in Canada, has lived a her life in complete isolation for a decade now.

"Witnesses say she often calls out for other orcas," he adds.

Many have been quick to respond to the absolutely heartbreaking post, which has garnered nearly 1,000 retweets, 1,500 likes, more than 300 quote tweets and 200 responses, and was also shared on platforms like Reddit, to similar reactions.

Since being captured off the coast of Iceland in the late 1970s at the age of around three, Kiska's treatment and condition at the park has been called into question on many occassions, and for years her mental and physical state have been shown to be deteriorating

The park has also been called out for dozens of animal deaths, unsanitary water and other conditions often described as "deplorable" —  and new data from an ongoing inspection by Animal Welfare Services indeed indicates that Marineland's animals are "in distress" due to poor water quality.

Public reviews of the facility cite animals that "look sad and sick" and aren't taken care of.

Hopefully the renewed calls to action, as well as the findings of the welfare inspection, will mean that Kiska and other tenured Marineland residents can be relocated to a sanctuary or otherwise have their environment and quality of life improved in some major ways.

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