A video of Marineland‘s last surviving orca, Kiska, is renewing calls online for the mammal to be freed as she reportedly banged her head against her tank.
Videos shared on social media also shows the orca in Canada acting strange and moving slowly at the surface of the water while faintly moaning.
Camille Labchuk, executive director of the national animal law advocacy organisation Animal Justice, told CTV that Kiska is one of the few remaining marine mammals still featured as an attraction at the Ontario theme park.
She said the moaning Kiska makes in the video sounds like the animal is suffering.
“It’s a really heartbreaking situation,” Labchuk told the publication. “It’s difficult to watch that video and feel anything but abject sympathy for this animal.”
Footage of Kiska have since been viewed thousands of times and subsequently “revitalised” a two-year Change.org petition to #FreeKiska with an update asking Ontario Premier Doug Ford to move the orca to an “appropriate facility” such as a whale sanctuary, where “she can begin to acclimate to the wild and live a more natural and healthy life.”
As of 15 September, 124 925 signed the petition. At 150 000 signatures, the petition will become one of the top signed on Change.org.
Labchuk explained that Kiska has been in captivity since she was captured in the waters of Iceland as a young calf in 1979. The orca has been in isolation, without any companions, at Marineland for the past 10 years after outliving all her tank mates, including her five calves. Kiska’s Marineland-born calves died – all of them before they were even 7 years old. Orcas have an average life expectancy of 30 to 50 years – their estimated maximum lifespan is 60 years for males and 80 for females, reports Peta.
“She’s probably the world’s loneliest orca because every single other orca in captivity at least has other whales if not orcas themselves,” Labchuk said.