Kiska: World's loneliest whale bashes head against tank wall in heartbreaking video

Kiska was captured in Iceland in 1979 when she was three years old, gave birth to five calves, but they all died young

                            Kiska: World's loneliest whale bashes head against tank wall in heartbreaking video
Kiska, seen banging her head against the wall of her tank (Twitter/@walruswhisperer and The Dolphin Project)

Kiska, a killer whale who once lived happily with her family in the Icelandic Ocean and as per the Whale Sanctuary Project has become the loneliest whale in the world, was seen bashing her head repeatedly against the tank wall at Marineland of Canada in Niagara Falls, Ontario in a heartbreaking video. 

The video of the orca was reportedly captured by anti-captivity activist and whistleblower Phil Demers, a former professional marine mammal trainer who used to work at the park. Demers tweeted, "This video was taken on Sept 4th, 2021. Anti-captivity activists entered MarineLand and observed Kiska, their last surviving orca bashing her head against the wall. Please watch and share. This cruelty must end. #FreeKiska."


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Who is Kiska?

In July, an animal law non-profit group called on the Ontario government to investigate Marineland's treatment of Kiska. Animal Justice's complaint alleged that Marineland was breaking the law by subjecting the orca to conditions that did not meet her physical and mental needs. This complaint followed other videos posted by Demers, which reportedly showed Kiska floating listlessly and moving slowly. "She's probably the world's loneliest orca and that's very sad," said Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice. "It's difficult to not feel sympathy for what she's going through."

The complaint also arrived in the wake of Animal Welfare Services inspectors issuing two orders to the park in May to repair the water system in the pools that housed beluga whales, dolphins, walruses, sea lions, and one killer whale. The report said the animals were in distress because of the poor water quality.

Kiska spends her days bored and alone as the only orca at Marineland Canada (Twitter/@PETA)

Kiska was captured in Iceland in 1979 when she was three years old before Marineland purchased her. She gave birth to five calves, but they all died young. According to the Whale Sanctuary Project, Kiska has lived without other orca companions since 2011. 

Ikaika, an orca at SeaWorld Orlando, was flown to Marineland in Niagara Falls to mate with Kiska. But Ike reportedly had dental problems. In 2009, SeaWorld decided they could give him better care and said they wanted him back. But Marineland didn’t want to give him up. SeaWorld pushed harder. Ultimately, SeaWorld won.

As per The Whale Sanctuary Project, “Since 2011, Kiska has lived alone in her concrete tank. No family members swim by her side. No friends invite her to play. She holds the cruel distinction of being the only captive orca in North America held in social isolation from any other marine mammal. Video footage and eyewitness accounts depict her behavior as repetitive, unmotivated, and lethargic. When not swimming in slow circles, she often floats in place, staring at the emptiness that is the inside of her tank.”


Free Kiska

Following Demers’ tweet, the hashtag #FreeKiska began trending. One person tweeted, “this is beyond cruel and coldhearted, this beautiful orca deserves to  live in the sea with her kind and live happily free, I hope she freed and that no animals has to suffer like this ever again #FreeKiska.” The Dolphin Project tweeted, “A disturbing video of orca Kiska has emerged. Posted by IG: breakingmarineland, it shows her repeatedly bashing her head against her MarineLand tank- a type of self-harm that has killed captive cetaceans in the past.”

One person tweeted, “No, Kiska is not simply scratching herself. No, this behavior is not new. This IS however, what years and years of marine park captivity and isolation, has done to her. Something must be done. #FreeKiska.” Another tweet said, “These are 30 seconds of despair. But Kiska spends 24 hours every day of her life feeling the human disregard around her and the pain of knowing she cannot escape her torture. She’s been trapped there for 40 years. Marine sanctuaries exist. This is a crime. #FreeKiska.”





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