Marineland, the amusement park in Niagara Falls in Canada, became a venue of protest on Saturday as animal rights activists gathered to remember Kiska, the last killer whale in captivity in Canada, who died in the park in March. Kiska was known as the loneliest orca in the world.
On the park’s opening day for the season, about a hundred protesters voiced their disapproval of the park’s animal abuse over the years. Some of their signs read #RIPKISKA, as activists highlighted the plight of Kiska, for whom they had been advocating for years for her release back into the wild.
Kiska was captured in the wild in 1979 in Iceland when she was only three years old. She has been held captive ever since. Kiska had lived in a tank for the last 11 years. Animal rights activists had long criticized the orca’s conditions, noting that her tank was too small and that the water in which she swam was not maintained correctly.
The protest was organized by animal rights groups Last Chance for Animals and UrgentSea. During the protest, video footage was displayed on a banner van showing Kiska ramming her head against her tank’s glass.
Jennifer Jamieson, an animal rights advocate from Stoney Creek, Ontario, stated that while the community was relieved Kiska was no longer suffering, they still had work to do.
Having once been a visitor and bringing children to Marineland to learn about marine animals, Jamieson soon realized there was nothing educational about the park. “I started advocating for the animals because I actually went there as a visitor and was disgusted with the surroundings and the habitats that these wild animals were living in,” she said.
Among the protesters, Phil Demers, a former Marineland trainer and co-founder of UrgentSea, said the goal is to see the animals removed from the park and rehomed to wildlife sanctuaries.
“We’re not going anywhere until Marineland themselves resolves to part ways with any use of animals for entertainment or captivity and ultimately retire them to better lives,” he said.