Kiska, the last captive killer whale in Canada, died late on Friday in a theme park called MarineLand, the Ontario government announced.
MarineLand is a theme park in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Kiska was captured in Icelandic waters in 1979, and she died when she was 47 years old.
MarineLand said that Kiska’s health had declined in recent weeks.
“The ministry was advised by MarineLand that the whale named Kiska passed away at MarineLand on March 9, 2023.
A necropsy was conducted by professionals retained by MarineLand,” Brent Ross, a spokesperson of the Canadian province’s solicitor general ministry, said.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) described Kiska as the “world’s loneliest orca,” and the mother had to go through the death of all five of her calves who died before they were seven years old.
Kiska, “the world’s loneliest whale” and the last captive orca in Canada, has died.
After being captured from the wild in 1979, she spent her life in various marine parks before ending up at Marineland, where she spent the last twelve years of her life in solitary confinement. pic.twitter.com/Tl05iiRrlN
— World Animal Protection US (@MoveTheWorldUS) March 11, 2023
Dr. Naomi Rose, an internationally recognized marine mammal scientist, told One Green Planet regarding the death,
“Kiska was one of the last survivors of the Icelandic captures back in the 1970s. She was about 47 years old – and she lived the last 11 years of her life completely alone; no other orcas or in fact any other species were there to keep her company,” said Dr. Naomi Rose, marine mammal scientist for the Animal Welfare Institute. “She survived all of her offspring. Her life was sad. Her death was sad. She embodied all that is wrong with keeping these intelligent and social beings in a concrete box.”
“We were working very hard to give Kiska options, to get her out of her solitary confinement at Marineland,” Rose added. “We wanted to offer her life in a seaside sanctuary. But time ran out — for her and for us.”
Kiska was held in solitary confinement since 2011, which earned her the nickname of the ‘world’s loneliest orca.’ Videos in recent years have surfaced of Kiska floating in her tank and repeatedly bumping her head against the tank wall.
UPDATE: We have more heartbreaking video of Kiska, MarineLand’s last surviving orca floating listlessly at the surface of her concrete pool. She has lived in complete isolation since 2011. Witnesses say she often calls out for other orcas. #FreeKiska pic.twitter.com/TWyw9x781B
— Phil Demers (@walruswhisperer) July 16, 2021
Kiska’s death marks the end of captive orcas in Canada after a landmark bill passed in Canada in 2019 that bans whales, dolphins and porpoises from being held in captivity. We wish that Kiska would have been transferred to a sanctuary to live out the rest of her life.
The popular documentary Blackfish, which explored the tragedy of captive whales in detail, helped to reduce attendance at marine mammal parks and led SeaWorld to announce that it would stop breeding orcas. However, many of these whales remain in captivity, where they continue to suffer.
Please sign this petition telling SeaWorld to release the remaining orcas to sanctuaries.
This article by Hailey Kanowsky was first published by OneGreenPlanet on 12 March 2023.
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