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Heartbreaking drone footage captures ‘world’s loneliest orca’ in tiny aquarium months before death

Heartbreaking drone footage captures ‘world’s loneliest orca’ in tiny aquarium months before death

The national animal law organisation Animal Justice announced news of Kiska’s death on Friday (10 March)

Heartbreaking drone footage captures ‘world’s loneliest orca’ in tiny aquarium months before death

An orca named Kiska died in captivity on Friday (10 March) but footage from before her death shows her swimming alone in a tiny enclosure for decades before she passed.

Footage captured just months before her death in Canada shows the animal swimming alone in a small aquarium enclosure.

Kiska had become known as the world’s loneliest orca due to her life of solitude after being removed from her family in Iceland in 1979 and being sold into the aquarium industry. Dying at 46 years old, Kiska had been in a solo tank at the aquarium since 2011.

The Whale Sanctuary Project gave a sad overview of Kiska’s life before her death, as it said: “When not swimming in slow circles, she often floats in place, staring at the emptiness that is the inside of her tank”.

In 2021, footage of her banging her head into the tank walls went viral, leading to anti-captivity and animal rights activists starting the hashtag '#FreeKiska'.

Kiska was around 46 when she died.
YouTube/Phil Demers

Kiska also made headlines earlier this year when footage released of her swimming alone was shared on YouTube by Phil Demers, a former head trainer of Marineland's stadium in Canada.

The short clip of the drone footage has since received over 229,000 views and dozens of comments from many viewers who are shocked at Kiska’s living conditions and being kept alone.

One YouTube user wrote: "Wow, that's horrible. I wish people stop paying money to go to these places."

Another wrote: “What's possibly more heartbreaking is that there's almost no chance of survival if they were to release Kiska into the wild. Nearly every Orca that has once been in captivity and then released died very shortly after."

They continued: "If Kiska was born in captivity, then there is no chance of survival, as no captivity born Orca released into the wild survived."

A third commented: "Poor thing must be lonely as hell."

YouTube/Phil Demers

On Friday national animal law organisation Animal Justice confirmed Kiska’s death, after a decade of campaigning for her. Animal Justice is now demanding an investigation into Marineland for the way it held Kiska.

Animal Justice also helped to pass a provincial ban on keeping orcas in Ontario in 2015, and a national ban on keeping whales and dolphins in captivity in 2019.

Camille Labchuk, lawyer and executive director of Animal Justice, said: “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.

"While no other orca will have to suffer the cruelty of captivity in Canada again, we are demanding justice for what Kiska endured at the hands of Marineland.

"We are calling on provincial authorities to make public the results of a post-mortem, and prosecute Marineland for the unlawful distress Kiska clearly experienced throughout her final years.”

UNILAD has contacted Marineland for comment.

Featured Image Credit: YouTube/Phil Demers

Topics: Animals, Canada