The famous orca whale Kiska, the last captive orca in Canada that had spent decades living in a small tank at Marineland in Niagara Falls, has passed away.
Animal Justice called for an investigation and legal action against the contentious Ontario amusement park Marineland after confirming that the 47-year-old female whale had passed away on Friday.
Kiska has spent the last 12 years of her life in solitary confinement. Drones frequently fly overhead, circling her tiny habitat, giving her the nickname “the loneliest whale on earth.”
When she was taken prisoner in Icelandic waters in 1979, Kiska was thought to be 47 years old.
She was captured with Keiko, who rose to fame in the film Free Willy, and the two shared a residence at Marineland for a period of time in the 1980s. In light of Kiska’s passing, Animal Justice, a Canadian nonprofit organization that works to uphold animal rights through the legal system, has called once more for inquiries into Marineland’s treatment of the orca.
In July 2021, Animal Justice filed a court complaint against Marineland’s treatment of Kiska, alleging that it had violated the law by failing to attend to her emotional and physical needs. The allegation came after former Marineland trainer Phil Demers shared videos that purported to show Kiska floating motionlessly.
In that year, following another complaint from Animal Justice that claimed dolphins were being forced to act for entertainment despite a national ban, Marineland was charged criminally. In December 2022, the charges were suspended.