The Canadian Press has reported that a recent month-long inspection by the ‘Ontario Animal Welfare Services’ has found that the marine mammals at Marine land are in distress due to poor water quality. However, Marine land has denied this report. Global Green News reached out to the Ontario Animal Welfare Services, they reported that it would be inappropriate to comment as the investigation is still ongoing.

Green Party of Ontario speaks out

Ontario Green Party leader, Mike Schreiner, released a statement saying:

“the practice of keeping whales and dolphins in captivity is unethical and cruel. It must end.”

He went on to say that the “right thing to do” would be to ban the captivity of such marine mammals.

However, Schreiner has been talking about Marine land for some time now. Back in 2015, Schreiner went beyond tackling the ethics of captive marine mammals. According to 570 News during a visit to Niagara Falls in 2015, Schreiner said that Marine land may affect the good reputation of Niagara Falls’ tourism sector. As the hearts and minds of people are changing on captive orcas and other marine mammals. He went on to say that Marine land could still be a sustainable business but needs to stop the practice of having captive, large marine mammals.

Why orcas do not belong in captivity

According to many scientific studies, captive orcas are known to incur a multitude of adverse health effects and often die at a young age. However, there is no clear evidence as to what exactly causes these negative impacts on the orcas.

While more has been done legislatively to reduce the amount of orcas and other marine mammals in captivity as tourism attractions, still more needs to be done. At the time of a study posted to the ‘Journal of Veterinary Behavior‘ in 2020, there were about sixty orcas still kept in captivity globally.

In 2019, Canada passed a bill banning the capture, breeding and trade of these large marine mammals however some exceptions are made for conservation work. Marine land was subsequently allowed to keep their animals. That same year Canada also transitioned its enforcement of animal welfare legislation from the ‘Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ (SPCA) and ‘Humane Society to governmental jurisdiction’.

#FreeKiska

Marine land still has one Orca named “Kiska” which has been recently filmed by whistle-blower and former employee of Marine land, Phil Demers. In Demers’ post to Twitter, he explains that Kiska has been reported to often float “listlessly” at the top of her concrete tank and calls out for other orcas. Kiska has been in complete isolation since 2011, according to Demers on Twitter. Orcas live in large groups in the wild called pods and have complex family structures and relationships, according to Orcalab.

Demers has claimed on Twitter that in response, Marine land has “sent the police” to his home three times over his Tweets.

While this is still an ongoing investigation, Marine land owner, Marie Holer, has claimed on the Marine land website that improvements are coming to the park and experts will be brought in to help.

Mark Harracksingh

Mark is a final year undergraduate student at Concordia University in a specialization in environmental science. He was born and raised in Trinidad. He moved to Montreal to pursue a higher education and career in the environmental field. He has a strong interest in global politics and social justice.

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