From the Niagara Falls Review:
Marineland says rumours that its lone killer whale died over the weekend was part of an “orchestrated” attack by animal rights activists.
Without naming the group or individuals that started them, Marineland says “false allegations” were posted that Kiska – the only captive orca in Canada – had died. It came after several phone calls the park received inquiring about Kiska’s condition.
“Repeated calls were made to Marineland’s information line by a number of individuals, all of whom demanded to know whether Kiska was still alive,” said a park spokesperson in an e-mailed response to The Review. “They were all assured that Kiska is fine and healthy.
From the Niagara Falls Review:
A bill that would prohibit anyone from owning and breeding orcas in Ontario could impact 700 direct jobs in Niagara Falls and 36,000 indirect jobs across the region, says Coun. Wayne Thomson.
But animal rights activists say Marineland could survive, even thrive, as a theme park without animals.
“Anybody would put up their hand in a second in the municipality to make sure they protected that, but those 700 jobs precipitate, if you can imagine, 36,000 jobs not only in Niagara Falls but in the entire region,” Thomson recently said to a parliamentary committee at Queen’s Park.
“The 700 jobs is just Marineland. The 36,000 in the restaurants, in the hotels and motels, that’s what really is the spinoff of Marineland.”
The 4 Mothers blog has a posting about a recent trip to Niagara Falls:
Looking for a summer weekend activity with the kids? We recently took a road trip to Niagara Falls, Ontario to take in the scenery and spend a day at Marineland…
The live show did not disappoint and the opportunity to learn about the animals from the keepers was unique. How many of us can say they were an arm’s length from an Orca? The boys spent much of the day on the rides. There are many rides for children and teenagers alike and the queues moved quickly and orderly. The highlight of the park was the gift shop. Despite the collection of standard issue, run of the mill, garbage toys (that cost a small fortune) the shop houses an impressive collection of books and art projects.
I’ve never heard of the Orca whale Shouka, but apparently there is a bit of a movement to try to bring her to Marineland. There is a petition which states the following:
In the United States it is illegal for an orca to be in a marinepark without a companion. Shouka, a 19-year-old female orca has been without a companion for over 6 months. Another female orca, 34-year-old Kiska is in the same situation in Ontario, Canada. Her companion was taken away from her by Sea World over a custody battle in fall 2011. Both orcas would be suitable companions for each other and putting them together would solve both their isolation problems. This petition is to get Marineland France to transfer the loan agreement for over to Marineland Canada, where Shouka will have a companion of her own kind and more room to swim than her back tanks at Six Flags. This will also give Kiska a companion. Orcas are VERY social creatures, even in captivity and hate being alone. Both these orcas can (if not already) suffer from health problems due to being isolated, such as stress, ulcers, depression and can even lead to death. There is no way for these two orcas to be released into the wild, but at least let them have each other for companionship.
As of the time of this posting, there have been 125 people who have signed the petition.
So I posted back in January about a rumour I’d read that Kiska, Marineland’s remaining Orca whale, was pregnant. I hadn’t read the rumour anywhere else, but it was an exciting thought that there could be some baby Orcas on the way.
Well, I have an update. It has as much authority as the last one (as in not a lot). However I have a friend who knows a guy who used to be a trainer at Marineland and who still knows people at Marineland. I have been told that Kiska is NOT pregnant. Ike and Kiska never even got to a point where there is even that possibility. Ike was agressive because he was agressive. I was also told that it is virtually unheard of that an Orca would have twins.
So, there you have it. The original source is sketchy, my other source is a friend of a friend, so I don’t know how reliable either of them are. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
The rest of the posts today, and a couple tomorrow will be on the news that Marineland shipped Ikaika back to SeaWorld San Diego. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. If Marineland loses all of their Killer Whales (if Kiska dies), it will be a huge loss!
Whale leaves Marineland for San Diego
From Buffalo Business First:
It took a crane and a fleet of transport trucks to do it, but Ikaika the orca whale has returned home from Marineland to San Diego.
SeaWorld San Diego had loaned Ikaika to Marineland of Niagara Falls, Ont., in 2006 in exchange for four beluga whales. But SeaWorld’s parent company launched legal action last year to secure Ikaika’s return, according to the Niagara Falls Review.
A couple of unrelated thoughts from Marineland…
I’ve been to Marineland a few times this year, and we’ve spent a lot of time at Friendship Cove where the Orca whales are kept. We watched the splash show a couple of weeks ago, and the last time we were there we went to the underwater viewing area.
Seeing the crowd watch the splash show reminded me of how important the killer whales are to Marineland. The people loved it. Kids were enthralled; parents were smiling with their kids, and people were getting really wet. If Marineland ends up losing Ikaika, Kiska dies, and they are left with no killer whales, I think it would really hurt their business.
When we were in the underwater viewing area, Ikaika was alone in the tank and spent a lot of time in front of the glass. It made for some nice pictures.
If you follow any of the comments on my YouTube videos, you know that one of the most popular videos is one of Topple Tower. So far it has almost 200,000 views! Recently someone left a comment as follows:
update: this ride will never operate again in niagara falls, RIP, structural CRACK
tsiemens 1 week ago
Well, I find it hard to believe that they won’t get it fixed. However, the sign at Marineland also doesn’t tell you the whole story. Temporarily means 3 months and counting…
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.