From the Niagara Falls Review (includes a video):
Ikaika is back home.
The killer whale, the one at the heart of a custody battle between Marineland and SeaWorld, was removed from the Niagara Falls amusement park Saturday night by a fleet of transport trucks, a crane and more than a dozen Niagara Regional Police escorts cars.
“Ikaika was moved from Marineland to SeaWorld San Diego overnight,” confirmed Fred Jacobs, a spokesman for SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, located in Orlando, Fla, via email Sunday. “We typically do transports of this type at night to avoid disruptions in local traffic and in our park operations. The transport went perfectly and (Ikaika) is in the water in San Diego now, swimming with the park’s other whales.”
NRP Staff Sgt. Pat McCauley confirmed the Niagara police were hired on special duty to assist with the transfer of the whale.
From the Niagara Falls Review:
Lawyers for Marineland hoped an 11th hour temporary injunction would block the return of one of its two killer whales to SeaWorld Friday.
The injunction, however, was denied by a U.S. district court judge and that led to the dramatic transport of the 1,815-kilogram killer whale Ikaika Saturday night.
More than a dozen police cars, a crane and a number of transport trucks arrived at the Niagara Falls amusement park just after 6 p.m. Floodlights and the crane could be seen from the road as workers removed the male killer whale and lowered him into a waiting transport truck container filled with cold water. Two hours later, the convoy left for Hamilton, where the nine-year-old whale was loaded into a cargo plane outfitted with a holding tank. Ikaika was flown to California and to SeaWorld San Diego, where he was lowered back into a tank Sunday morning.
“The animal was attended to by vets and other zoological professionals throughout the process,” Fred Jacobs, a spokesman for the Orlando-based SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, wrote in an email.
Another great article about the Marinlenad/SeaWorld court case, this time from the Toronto Star:
Ikaika, an eight-year-old male killer whale at Marineland in Niagara Falls, is the equivalent of a troubled teenager. He is full of sexual energy, has a violent family tree and a pattern of aggressive behaviour that often leaves him swimming alone. Even so, two marine parks are waging a cross-border court battle for custody of the valuable orca.
A St. Catharines judge recently ruled he be returned to SeaWorld in Orlando, Fla., where he was born in August 2002. The judge’s ruling focused on legal technicalities surrounding the “breeding loan agreement” between the two parks.
Neither side is speaking on the matter publicly — both declined interviews with the Toronto Star — due to the pending appeal. Marineland repeatedly declined to comment on advice of their lawyers.
“We stand by our filings in the court record,” said Fred Jacobs, vice-president of communications for SeaWorld, in an email.
The court files, however, provide a rare glimpse into the dealings of the marine park community, which is notoriously private.