Kiska, the Last Captive Orca in Canada, Has Died at an Amusement Park at Age 47
Kiska was known as “the loneliest whale in the world” and spent more than 4 decades in captivity.
Kiska, Canada’s last captive orca, died on March 9 at Ontario's Marineland. She was believed to have been 47 years old.
Kiska was known as “the loneliest whale in the world” and spent more than 4 decades in captivity. She was first captured alongside another orca, named Keiko, in waters near Iceland in 1979. Keiko became famous for starring in the film “Free Willy,” and the 2 lived together in Marineland.
No official cause of death has been released for Kiska. Brent Ross, a spokesperson for the Canadian province's solicitor general ministry, told Reuters that “a necropsy was conducted by professionals retained by Marineland.”
Kiska’s death comes 4 years after Canada officially banned keeping whales and dolphins in captivity. However, Kiska was exempt from the law, since she had been captured before the passing of the legislation.
Animal rights groups are asking for more transparency into her death. “We are demanding justice for what Kiska endured at the hands of MarineLand,” Camille Labchuk, executive director of the Canadian nonprofit group Animal Justice, told CBC. “We are calling on provincial authorities to make public the results of a post-mortem, and prosecute MarineLand for the unlawful distress Kiska experienced.”
“It is heartbreaking to know that Kiska will never have the chance to be relocated to a whale sanctuary, and experience the freedom that she so deeply deserved,” said Labchuk.