Videos Of Aquarium’s Last Surviving Orca Spark Outrage As People Demand Her Release

People are outraged after video footage from MarineLand was shared, showing the aquariam’s last surviving orca bashing her head against the wall of her enclosure in distress.

The orca, Kiska, has been in captivity since 1979 when she was captured off the coast of Iceland at 3-years-old.

Since then, Kiska has spent most of her life at the MarineLand aquarium, where she’s had to witness her family and friends around her die. Since 2011, she’s been alone – the last surviving orca at the aquarium.

Photo: flickr/Dennis Jarvis

Kiska had five calves while living at MarineLand, but all five of them died. Her companions also died, leaving her totally alone for years.

A former marine mammal trainer of MarineLand, Phil Demers, took to social media to advocate for Kiska’s release, sharing videos of her life in her tank.

On Saturday, September 4, he took part in an annual MarineLand protest and shared videos of the poor killer whale repeatedly hitting her head against her enclosure wall.

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He shared the videos on Twitter, saying, “This video was taken on Sept 4th, 2021. Anti-captivity activists entered MarineLand and observed Kiska, their last surviving orca bashing her head against the wall. Please watch and share. This cruelty must end.”

In an interview with Narcity, Demur explained that whales are “known to self-harm on rare occasions,” and the behavior has been noted in captivity and in MarineLand.

The disturbing clips he shared have sparked public outrage, and many are joining Demur in demanding Kiska’s release.

According to the National Wildlife Federation, orcas are “highly intelligent and social animals.” In the wild, they spend their lives in pods, doing everything together from child-rearing to hunting and caring for sick or injured pod members.

Orca pods generally consist of generations of families, with offspring staying with their mothers their entire lives. They even mourn their dead, according to National Geographic.


Considering how important social bonds are to orcas, it’s clear to see how cruel her confinement at MarineLand is and has been for years. But, the cruelty doesn’t stop there, either.

Back in May, the aquarium was served two orders from Animal Welfare Services to repair the water system in Kiska’s pool, noting that the animals were distressed due to poor water quality.

Additionally, CBC reported that around July, Animal Justice, a non-profit animal law firm, filed a complaint with the Ministry of the Solicitor General regarding MarineLand subjecting Kiska to “conditions that don’t meet her physical and mental needs.”


Speaking with CBC, the executive director of Animal Justice, Camille Labchuk, said, “She’s probably the world’s loneliest orca and that’s very sad.”

While Canada doesn’t actually permit whales, dolphins, or porpoises to be held in captivity, MarineLand currently gets away with it due to the legislation’s grandfather clause. Hopefully MarineLand will feel enough pressure from the public to release Kiska or be forced to under animal cruelty laws.

There is another protest scheduled to take place in October at Queen’s Park in Toronto, Canada.

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