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Viral video prompts renewed calls to free Marineland's lone orca

Kiska the orca swims in Marineland's pool

There are renewed calls to free the only surviving orca at Ontario’s Marineland. The calls come after a video showing Kiska in isolation and moving slowly near the surface of the water.

The video was shared earlier this month by a former Marineland employee, Phil Demrs. It has since gone viral. The footage has been viewed 65,000 times on Youtube and has been shared on other social media platforms.

Kiska was captured off Iceland in 1979 and has been in captivity ever since, the last 10 years alone.

Camille Labchuk is the executive director of Animal Justice.....a national animal law advocacy organization.

"My organization, Animal Justice, has just filed an enforcement complaint with the provincial authorities asking them to investigate whether Marineland is in fact breaking the law by keeping her in these conditions," Labchuk said, "because in Ontario, it’s not just illegal to cause physical pain or suffering or distress to an animal, but psychological distress, too. And when you have an animal in solitary confinement, it’s difficult to imagine that she’s not experiencing distress."

In 2019, the Canadian government passed a law making it illegal to keep any whales in captivity in Canada, except for those that are already in captivity.

The video has renewed a two-year-old petition calling on Premier Doug Ford to move the orca to some kind of whale sanctuary, where she can live a more natural life.

WBFO’s comprehensive news coverage extends into Southern Ontario and Dan Karpenchuk is the station’s voice from the north. The award-winning reporter covers binational issues, including economic trends, the environment, tourism and transportation.