By Kirsten Massebeau
By Alex Dorer of Fins and Fluke
. In November of 1979 off the coast of Ingólfshöfði, Iceland a young female orca,and three other pod members were violently captured, their lives changed forever:
She was captured in 1979 along with three others; King, Caren and another female who was unnamed. Kiska and the one female were sold to Marineland, in Niagara Falls, Ontario. The other female was then transferred to Kamogawa but died shortly after. Kiska was joined by Nootka V, Kandu VII and Junior. Kiska had five calves by Kandu VII; one died after 62 days by drowning, Kanuck lived for 4 years but died of traumatic shock and Nova who was born in 1996 and died in 2001 of pneumonia and starvation, in 1998 Hudson was born but died in 2004 of meningitis, and Athena born in 2004. After Kandu VII died on Christmas eve in 2005, Nootka V joined Kiska but tried to steal Athena away. During that time, Kiska was separated from her calf until Nootka died in 2008. She was then reunited with Athena and Marineland brought in Sea World’s Ikaika, also known as Ike to help with breeding. Ike and Athena got along until Athena’s death in 2009. Kiska is now alone, but retired from show as she is now 39 years of age. Probably one of the second oldest whales in captivity. Sea World and Marineland engaged in a nasty custody battle over Ike as he was on loan to Marineland for breeding but Sea World didn’t like the way he was being used and were also not impressed with the facilities. They won the battle and Ike is in San Diego as of November 2011. Kiska now remains alone, floating around the back pool of Friendship Cove(source)
Video obtained of Kiska by Alex Dorer of Fins and Fluke shows lone Kiska floating listlessly in her pool at the dilapidated Marine Park. Marineland is under scrutiny soley thanks to the Marineland Whistleblowers. In August of 2010 the Star began publishing a series of articles that would change history and the worlds view of Marine Parks forever as Phil Demers and other former trainers came forward exposing conditions of abuse and neglect at Marineland in Niagara Falls, Canada. The article, “Marineland animals suffering, former staffers say” by Linda Diebel, published Wednesday Aug 15, 2012 revealed what goes on behind closed doors, with example after example, complete with pictures of the terrible neglect and suffering.
Les Stroud and the Orca Conservancy have now come forward to support the Marineland Whistleblowers. Each day you can help by voting for Les Stroud at the Bille Celebrity Challenge. By supporting the Whistleblowers we are supporting all the animals that continue to suffer at Marineland and that includes the lone orca Kiska. Alex Dorer of Fins and Fluke said it best: “Kiska, she needs us and the Whistle Blowers to keep fighting against Marineland so please vote for Les Stroud everyday”.
By Kirsten Massebeau
She was rescued from the Wadden Sea, in the North Atlantic June 23, 2010 and named Morgan by Dolfinarium Harderwijk a marine park in the Netherlands . The juvenile female orca was found to be malnourished and thin, but otherwise healthy. Dolfinarium Harderwijk was granted a permit that allowed them to rescue, (capture) this young orca but with the stipulation that she be rehabilitated and returned to the wild as soon as possible. With what seemed a well laid out plan Dolphinarium Harderwijk ignored the stipulations of the permit and isolated Morgan in a tank tiny for her size, and put her on display.
“Quite simply, Morgan, an intelligent, highly social animal that used to swim 100 kilometres a day in the wild, has been illegally abducted by the captivity industry and is now forced to perform idiotic tricks in a bathtub”.
Despite a solid release program, and sightings of Morgan’s pod Dolphinarium Harderwiijk convinced the Dutch Government that Morgan was ineligible for release and should be transferred to Morgan Loro Parque a dolphinarium in Spain that displays orcas and are known for their role in SeaWorld’s breeding program. Doctor Ingrid Visser of Free Morgan Foundation simply stated the obvious in a Take Part article in December of 2012:
“It is now clear that they never intended to release her, as they encouraged her to learn tricks, put her on public display and never fed her live fish. Obviously they never released her. Rather, they sent her another marine park, this one in Spain”.
The death of Vicky a 10 month old orca at Loro Parque has put SeaWorld’s questionable captive breeding program under the spotlight. Their reckless interbreeding of young orcas has created an inbreed population that will eventually collapse without new blood. In her article Young orca dies at Loro Parque in Tenerife environmental blogger Elizabeth Batt explains Vicky’s inbred lineage: “The young Vicky then, shared the same grandfather as her dam, but on Keto’s side, and again as a great-grandfather on Kohana’s side, (through Takara). In short, Vicky was blood-related to 21 out of 26 SeaWorld whales, as is Adan”. In a more recent article Batt takes the reader through yet more of the dark twists and turns of SeaWorld’s breeding program in her article: “Orca bloodlines show rampant inbreeding in captive orcas“, revealing the many problems with inbreeding: “For years, scientists have chalked up mental illness and deformities to rare genetic mutations, which come to the fore only when related individuals breed”.
SeaWorld has listed Morgan as part of their collection making her a virtual commodity on the stock market as noted by Matthew Spiegel in his article, “SeaWorld’s IPO and the Third Question of Conscience” he asks stock buyers to question their ethics before buying SeaWorld stock which was founded on dolphin suffering and he puts a face to Morgan through the eyes of Doctor Visser:
The photo shows Morgan chewing the side of her tank at Loro Parque. How can they possibly say this is ‘normal’? Via Free Morgan Facebook
“Morgan is more than just an abstract thought, she is more than just a money making commodity and she is certainly more than just a breeding machine, she is an individual orca. We have learned that her species is self-aware, sentient and that they have many of the same emotions that we have. To put her in a featureless concrete tank, where she is constantly harassed by the other orca, where she is made to perform tricks to get fed and to try and breed from her when she is so young is not only shameful it is morally and ethically abhorrent. The tide is turning against such a cruel and unjustified misuse of these animals. I can only hope that it will turn fast enough for Morgan.” — Dr. Ingrid Visser, Free Morgan Foundation”.
Although SeaWorld (the Blackstone Corportation) seems to think Morgan is their new blood for breeding, and that her incarceration in captivity is forever they are underestimating the dolphin advocates, and the scientific community. Campaigns have been mounted to restore Morgan to her family and close all the Dolphinariums in Europe. On June 28, 2013 dolphin advocates are meeting in Brussels to give Europe a loud and clear message: Close the captive facilities down! Please join the event on Facebook and sign the petition Close All Dolphinaria in Europe.
To learn more about Morgan and how you can help visit the Free Morgan Foundation and be a part of Morgan’s upcoming appeal for Freedom!