Two More Beluga Whales Die at Marineland Despite Persistent Concerns


Recent reports from the Canadian Press have once again shone a spotlight on the distressing situation at Marineland, the notorious tourist attraction located in Niagara Falls.

In a tragic turn of events, two more beluga whales have perished within its confines, bringing the total death toll to 17 since 2019. This alarming figure reveals the urgent need for accountability and action to address the ongoing welfare concerns surrounding marine mammals held in captivity.

Among the casualties is Kiska, an orca whale whose tragic death in March 2023 served as a stark reminder of the suffering endured by animals confined within Marineland’s tanks. Kiska spent over 40 years in captivity, enduring solitary confinement for more than a decade—a poignant testament to the inherent cruelty of marine mammal captivity.

Animal Justice, an advocacy organization dedicated to the welfare of animals, has been a vocal critic of Marineland’s operations, consistently calling for regulatory intervention to safeguard the well-being of its captive inhabitants.

Kaitlyn Mitchell, director of legal advocacy at Animal Justice, expressed profound dismay at the continued lack of accountability: “It is shocking and absolutely heartbreaking that belugas continue to die at Marineland and the company is not being held to account.”

While recent convictions under Ontario’s animal welfare laws have shed light on Marineland’s problematic treatment of animals, including the mistreatment of young bears, past legal proceedings have highlighted a pattern of insufficient regulatory oversight and enforcement.

Despite facing charges related to animal cruelty on multiple occasions, Marineland has continued to operate with impunity, raising serious questions about the efficacy of existing regulatory mechanisms.

The failure to address systemic issues within Marineland’s operations is further compounded by reports of potential ownership changes and rumors of closure.

However, regardless of its future ownership or operational status, the plight of the remaining belugas cannot be overlooked.

As Ms. Mitchell aptly notes, “Whether Marineland continues to operate in its current form, or is sold to new owners who are not interested in the animal captivity business, we cannot turn a blind eye as the remaining belugas continue to die off one by one.”

This article by Trinity Sparke was first published by One Green Planet on 28 March 2024. Image Credit :Matthias Brix/Shutterstock.

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