‘Peaceful protest’ coming to MarineLand in Niagara Falls remembering last Orca whale

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Published March 21, 2023 at 3:28 pm

While she was alive, there were world-wide protests to "Free Kiska."

There will be one last final protest – a peaceful one – to honour the passing of Kiska, the last remaining captive killer whale in Canada.

Organized by long-time animal activist and former MarineLand employee Phil Demers, the protest and remembrance of Kiska will take place on May 20 from 11 am to 2 pm at the water park.

MarineLand told the Ontario government that the orca died in its tank on March 9. The province’s Animal Welfare Services officers were on-site as Marineland performed a necropsy on the orca.

Kiska was estimated to be 47 years old. Captured in Icelandic waters in 1979, alongside sibling Keiko, who became famous in the movie Free Willy, the pair lived together for a few years at Marineland in the 1980s.

Keiko was later sold to a Mexican entertainment park, then finally rehabilitated and released back into her Icelandic home waters. Kiska, however, remained at MarineLand, where she gave birth to five calves, none of which survived.

“There’s very little positive to take away from Kiska’s death, but a lot of animals have died similarly, whereas at least she will be recognized as the last, and the orca that largely created and inspired bill S-203,” Demers said after the death.

Canada passed bill S-203 in 2019, banning the captivity and breeding of whales, dolphins and porpoises. Although the new law was too late for Kiska – animals already in captivity were excluded from protection – activists say her story was instrumental in drawing public attention to the plight of captive marine mammals.

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