An animal rights group captured a heartbreaking video of an orca whale named Kiska slamming her head against the walls of her enclosure. Dubbed “the loneliest whale in the world,” Kiska lives alone at Marineland in Niagra Falls. The other whales held there have died over the years, including five of Kiska’s babies.
In the video uploaded last week, the orca thrashes in the water. Phil Demers, an anti-captivity activist who reportedly worked at the park for 12 years, shared the video. He said the whale’s actions are “dangerous and self-harming behavior.” He added, “Kiska is in distress.”
“This video was taken on Sept 4th, 2021,” the Instagram post says. “Activists entered Marineland and observed Kiska, their last surviving orca bashing her head against the wall. Very distressing. Please watch & share. This cruelty must end. #FreeKiska“
Note: It is a difficult video to watch.
“She has lived in complete isolation since 2011,” he wrote. “Witnesses say she often calls out for other orcas.”
Marineland hasn’t responded to the backlash publicly.
Rob Lott, who works for Whale and Dolphin Conservation, told iNews that Kiska’s behavior is common for lonely orcas. In the wild, the whales live in large groups called pods and are very social animals.
“Sadly, this isn’t unique and the repetitive, self-inflicted behavior shown by Kiska has been seen in other captive orcas where years of boredom in barren, featureless tanks with little or no stimulation manifests itself this way,” he said. “Chronic stress can compromise captive orcas’ immune systems and physiology causing illness and sometimes death.”
Orca Whale Dies in Captivity at SeaWorld
A 6-year-old orca whale named Amaya died unexpectedly at SeaWorld San Diego last month, the Associated Press reported. Though, officials at the park hope an autopsy will uncover the cause of the whale’s death.
“Amaya began showing signs of illness on August 18, and animal care specialists and veterinarians began treating her immediately,” a statement from the park said. “Despite her care team’s efforts, Amaya’s condition continued to decline rapidly. Her death was sudden and unexpected.
“This is a very difficult time for those who knew and loved Amaya. She inspired millions of guests to appreciate and learn more about this amazing species,” the statement concluded.
SeaWorld ended its shows featuring orca whales following backlash from animal rights activists. The park also phased out its breeding program for the whales in 2016.
The 2013 documentary Blackfish, which told the story of an orca whale at a SeaWorld park that killed its trainer in 2010, reignited and intensified the public debate over the animals being kept in captivity.