From The Orlando Sentinel (via Canada.com):
A 9-year-old killer whale at the center of an international custody dispute between a Canadian marine park and industry giant SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment was transferred to SeaWorld San Diego over the weekend.
The overnight transport took place Saturday evening, just 24 hours after a U.S. judge denied a request from Niagara Falls, Ontario-based Marineland for an injunction that would have blocked SeaWorld from taking the whale, which is named “Ikaika” but nicknamed “Ike.”
SeaWorld had loaned Ike to Marineland about five years ago as part of a breeding exchange in which SeaWorld received four beluga whales. But Orlando-based SeaWorld informed the smaller park late last year that it intended to cancel the agreement once its initial term was up. Marineland had refused to relinquish the animal, arguing that SeaWorld did not have the authority to unilaterally cancel the agreement and that the two parties always intended Ike to remain long-term at the Canadian park.
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.
From the UK Daily Mail:
Two theme parks are waging an international custody dispute in court – over a 17-foot killer whale.
SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida, is demanding the return of Ikaika, a two-tonne, captive-born orca that it sent to Marineland in Niagara Falls, Canada, in 2006.
But Marineland has defied the call – and a judge’s order – and insisted that Ikaika stays, dismissing SeaWorld’s claim that the mammal was only a temporary loan and branding the dispute ‘unfortunate’.
This is actually one of the longer articles I’ve seen about this. There are also a few nice pictures included with the article.