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An orca swimming free in Iceland
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Shocking footage of captive orca butting head against wall

Distressing scenes have recently emerged from Marineland in Ontario where Kiska, the loneliest whale in the world, has been filmed violently thrashing her head against the side of her tank.

Kiska is a wild caught Icelandic orca who has spent the last four decades in captivity. She was just three years old when she was taken from her family and condemned to a life in a barren, concrete tank. The disturbing images that have gone viral on social media show how a life in captivity for over forty years has severely impacted her social and psychological development. Kiska has been without an orca companion since 2011 and is deprived of every aspect of the social culture she would have experienced in the wild.

Orcas, and indeed all whales and dolphins, are extremely poor candidates for life in captivity as no tank environment can ever provide the conditions that these free-ranging, powerful, highly intelligent and socially complex creatures need to thrive.

Never has there been a greater urgency for Kiska to be retired to a coastal, open water sanctuary where she can enjoy the rest of her days in a more natural environment….and hopefully in the company of other ex-captive orcas.

Find out more about orcas in captivity

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About George Berry

George is a member of WDC's Communications team and website coordinator.

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