Marineland has temporarily closed its deer park after officials say two people intentionally caused the animals to stampede Saturday, resulting in the deaths of two deer.
In a news release issued Sunday, the tourist attraction said “we are deeply disturbed by the shocking incident.”
“This has never happened before and our guests have always, as a general rule, behaved responsibly in the deer park,” the statement read. “We are all upset by this terrible act against innocent animals. In order to protect our animals, we are closing the deer park to make modifications to prevent this type of incident from ever happening again.”
Marineland welcomes the announcement by Ontario’s Community Safety Minister Madeleine Meilleur in regards to animal welfare and her decision to seek independent scientific advice in the establishment of appropriate standards of care for marine mammals.
The wellbeing of our animals and mammals has, and always will be, our first priority. Our dolphins, whales, sea lions, walruses, deer and bears are what attract the tens of millions who have watched our shows and visited our attraction. Like us, our visitors want to ensure those animals and mammals they love are well cared for and we are confident the establishment of transparent standards of care will provide that assurance and in the process ensure the long-term and ongoing success of Marineland.
Brendan Kelly left after his shift last week as MC of the stadium show at Marineland, and hasn’t gone back. The grinning guy in the bright red shirt who invited children to feed the dolphins couldn’t take it anymore.
“I can’t go back now. I just can’t face being that happy person, knowing what happens to the animals,” said Kelly.
Leaving Marineland broke Phil Demers’ heart. But he had to do it.
The 34-year-old animal trainer left Marineland after 12 years, and has gone public with allegations of deplorable water conditions and mistreatment of animals by his former employer.
Demers said he made the decision to leave in May and then go public because the park’s owner, John Holer, wasn’t making changes he thought were necessary.
“All of my efforts in house proved futile,” Demers said Wednesday. “I could yell and scream, but at the end of the day, I didn’t get the support that I hoped I’d get from management to correct what was a really bad problem.”
Larry lies behind bars in a pen, his eyes red and swollen. The harbour seal with “an amazing little personality” who arrived at Marineland about eight years ago is now a shadow of his former self. After repeated exposure to unhealthy water, he has gone blind.
Larry isn’t the only sea mammal living in distress at Marineland, the sprawling attraction in Niagara Falls.
In extensive interviews with the Star, eight former Marineland staffers describe a pattern of neglect that has repeatedly resulted in animal suffering.
I commented the other day that we hadn’t been to Marineland the previous few years. One of the reasons is that we were going to Safari Niagara instead. The kids love seeing the animals, and the play park and splash pad are fantastic. We probably went 7 or 8 times last year.
I took some pictures of our visit last August. Most of the pictures are of the bird show, but there are a few others. As always, you can see some of the thumbnails below, and you can see the rest of the thumbnails and the larger images in the Safari Niagara in August 2011 gallery.
I also took a couple of videos. The first one is of the Birds of Prey show. You can see a few of the birds, including one that is “hunting”. You can watch this HD video on YouTube or see it below.
The other video I took is very short, but super cute. It is of a baby Siamang Gibbon hanging off it’s mother and sucking on her thumb. You really need to check it out. You can watch this short HT video on YouTube or see it below: