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 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.
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.
From the Orlando Sentinel:
The Canadian theme park Marineland has sued SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment in U.S. court, in the latest chapter of an international custody battle over a killer whale.
In its lawsuit, filed last week in Orlando, Marineland asks a federal court judge to issue an injunction that would prevent SeaWorld from retaking possession of an 8-year-old killer whale that SeaWorld loaned to Marineland five years ago.
Marineland says SeaWorld executives repeatedly assured it that the loan would extend for so long as Marineland was able to care for the whale, which is named “Ikaika” but nicknamed “Ike.” The park, located in Niagara Falls, Ontario, also says the purpose of the loan was to allow Ikaika to breed with Marineland’s only other killer whale, a female named Kiska, and that Ikaika became capable of mating only late last year.
Marineland suggests that SeaWorld wants to end the agreement now because one of its few other breeding-age males — a 12-year-old killer whale named Sumar — died last year at SeaWorld San Diego.
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