marineland beluga whales

Heartbreaking video shows Marineland belugas swimming in tiny tanks

Marineland has come under more fire after a recent video documenting the lives of beluga whales living at the park was shared on social media.

While last month, Marineland's sole Orca whale Kiska died and was quickly buried, this month, the heartbreaking lives of the park's multiple beluga whales have been thrust into the spotlight.

The short clip, shared by Marineland critic and former animal trainer Phil Demers, documents the depressing monotony of what the park's belugas live through every day.

Seen from above, the belugas swim and circle their incredibly small enclosures, a cruel reminder of their lives removed from the sea.

"This video was taken on Apr. 8, 2023 above MarineLand in Canada. This is what 35 seconds in the life of a beluga what looks like. Can you imagine how torturous an entire lifetime must feel?" read the caption on the misery-inducing video.

Belugas are considered to be highly social, generally living together with other belugas.

They have a very robust language using clicks, whistles and clangs, according to National Geographic and can mimic other sounds.

While Marineland's website does not specifically state how many beluga whales reside in the park, the video shows at least eight, while some online sources claim that number may have been much higher.

According to The Whale Sanctuary Project, there may have been as many as 51 belugas at Marineland, including 23 captured near Russian waters and 28 born at Marineland - having never known their natural ocean habitat.

The foundation also claims that 33 belugas have died at the facility, including the heartbreaking death of baby Skoot in 2012, who was attacked by two older males and could not escape. At the time, Marineland said the baby had died from a bacterial infection.

Back in 2021 and 2022, two belugas that were transferred from Marineland to Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut died, which was investigated by the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service.

If the lives of Marineland's belugas are anything like Kiska's, critics of marine mammal captivity could argue that they won't know peace until their deaths. 

Marineland has not yet provided comment on the video.

Lead photo by

Phil Demers

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