Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Animal Deaths at Marineland

Tracking animal deaths at Marineland is difficult.  In the park's early years record keeping was minimal or non existent and even today where there are more comprehensive vet logs Marineland isn't exactly forthcoming about animals that die at their facility.  Dead animals are bad for business.  Often animals have simply gone missing with no formal announcement.  Advocacy groups have stitched together inventory lists through import permits, birth announcements, news reports and visitors who have provided photos and information.  Marineland does not want the public to know how many animals die there and how often.

One thing is for sure since the park's inception lots of animals have died there and until recently the public was unaware that they are buried there as well.  This was also news to the government as Marineland was never issued permits to bury animals on site. Ontario's Ministry of the Environment launched an investigation into Marineland's four mass animal graves in late 2012 and ordered them to immediately stop the burials.


Marineland has held thousands of nameless land animals over the years such as bears, elk, deer & bison and more. There is no public record or way of telling that exact number that have ended up in the those mass graves but factoring the numbers in captivity, their lifespans, the length of time Marineland has operated and culls the overall death toll must be staggering.  During the initial investigation of the mass graves former employees pinpointed one grave that held a thousand corpses alone. Many animals may have never made it into a grave, in the past Marineland  has incinerated some animals and sent others to the meat packers or vet schools.  Marineland refuses to release information on the deaths of any of their pinnipeds or cetaceans.

Tracking cetacean deaths at Marineland is a little easier due to the fact they are high profile performers.  Again information is pieced together from various sources as Marineland won't always officially comment.

With 17 orca deaths and 3 miscarriages since 1973 Marineland has one of the worst records in the world for orca deaths.  No orca at Marineland has ever come near what their average lifespan would be in the wild.
In the wild females can live up to an average of 50 years or maximum of 80-90 years,  In the wild males live an average of 29 years to a maximum of 50-60 years.  Killer Whales born at Marineland have fared even worse.

Name Mother Sex Origin Captured/Born   Died Time in Captivity
Kandu 2 L pod M WA, USA 1971/8 1979/10 8 years
Kandy L pod F WA, USA 1973/8 11/16/73 3 months
Unnamed ? F Iceland 1979/11 1980 3 months
Nootka 5 ? F Iceland 1981/10 1/08/08 26 years
Unnamed  ? F Iceland 1981/10 1982 1 year
Junior ? M Iceland 1984/11 1994/6 9.5 years
Kandu 7 ? M Iceland 1984/11 12/21/05 21 years
Unnamed Kiska M Captivity 8/24/92 10/25/92 62 days
Neocia Nootka 5 F Captivity 10/21/92 8/01/04 12 years
Kanuck Kiska M Captivity 8/28/94 1998 4 years
Malik  Nootka 5 F Captivity 4/21/96 3/04/00 4 years
Nova   Kiska M Captivity 11/06/96 8/20/01 5 years
Unnamed Nootka 5 F Captivity 5/27/98 6/07/98 11 days
Hudson  Kiska M Captivity 9/15/98 10/20/04 6 years
Algonquin Nootka 5 M Captivity 12/18/99 8/13/02 2.5 years
Unnamed Nootka 5 ? Captivity 2001/2002 2001/2002 miscarriage
April    Nootka 5 F Captivity 4/07/04 2004/5  1 month
Unnamed Neocia ? Captivity 2004/7 2004/7 miscarriage
Athena   Kiska F Captivity 8/08/04 spring 2009 4.5 years
Unnamed  Nootka 5 ? Captivity 5/2006  May-06 miscarriage

Marineland currently has the largest captive beluga population in the world.  All wild caught and imported from Russia they have experienced mixed results in breeding.  Marineland currently ranks number one in North America for recorded beluga deaths.  Previous this record was held by the New York Aquarium.  The NY Aquarium received their first belugas 40 years before Marineland.  Belugas in the wild have an average lifespan of 35 to 50 years.

Name Mother Sex Origin Captured/Born   Died Time in Captivity
Ben  ? M Russia  1994 2006 6 years
Baffin ? M Russia  1998 2005 7 years
Paige ? F Russia  1999 1999 1 year
Priscilla ? F Russia  1999 2007 8 years
Dee ? F Russia  1999 2000 1 year
Denise  ? F Russia  1999 2005 6 years
Natalie ? F Russia  1999 2002 3 years
Oceanna ? F Russia  2000 2011 11 years
Unnamed Priscilla F Captivity 2003 2003 stillbirth
Taia ? F Russia  2004 2005 1 year
Hope Denise F Captivity 2005 2005 2 months
Xavier Xena M Captivity 2005 2005 1 month
Sevena Oceanna F Captivity 2005 2006 1 year
Sasha Gemini  F Captivity 2008 2010 2 years
Charlotte  Kelowna F Captivity 2009 2012 3 years
Unnamed Sierra M Captivity 2009 2009 stillbirth
Unnamed Skyla M Captivity 2009 2009 1 month
Skoot Skyla F Captivity 2011 2012 1 year
Unnamed Caspian ? Captivity 2011 2011 stillbirth
Luna Lillooet F Captivity 2012 2013 7 months
Beyli             ?                   M     Captivity   1994                  2014             20 years
Peanut           ?                   F      Captivity    2003                 2014              10 years
Unnamed       Peanut           ?     Captivity    2013                 2013             3 months
Unnamed       Kelowna      M    Captivity    2013                  2014             6 months
Unnamed       Osiris           ?      Captivity    2013                  2013             Stillbirth

A definitive list of dolphins who have died at Marineland does not exist outside of park hands but we do know they've been importing them since the early 1960's.  There are at least 22 that have died there most whose names are unknown.  Among the known dead are Duke, Flip, Sunny, Nemo, Corky, Neptune, Diva, Storm, Tulo, Hydro, Mia & and Sonar's calf.  Marineland has never had a successful breeding program of dolphins and continues to import new ones to replace the dead.

Credit: Ceta-Base OrcaHome Toronto Star


  1. I was under the understanding that the authorities conducted an investigation into the well being of the animals. especially aquatic ones and found no problems.
    I understand that you are saying there were many deaths but there is no comparison to other zoos or marineland like venues to get an honest comparision of death ratios.

    1. Chey thanks for your comment.

      Several order were placed on Marineland during the course of the OSPCA investigation in which they were forced to comply.

      The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) also announced that they were applying a legislative loophole to their investigation of Marineland and considered the animals under vet care, the marine mammals, to be outside of their jurisdiction.

      In comparison to other similar aquariums around the world Marineland does not compare well. As mentioned in the article Marineland is only second in overall Beluga deaths behind the New York Aquarium. The NYA has had 23 Belugas die while Marineland's total is 20. The NYA has been capturing Belugas 40 YEARS longer than Marineland. As for orcas, larger parks such as SeaWorld have miserable statistics as well but shockingly less actual deaths than Marineland.

      The real issue here is how quickly these animals die in captivity as compared to the wild and Marineland (along with other aquariums) contribute to this.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. This should tell u that these mammals do not belong in captivity .. If this record is known why hasnt this place been shut down??? Why does Canada allow this place to exist to this day? Common sense would tell you with people who vist this park and see how the animals are treated should be closed down.. Animals dont do well in captivity.. The Sucide rate for dolphins in captivity is high. From what i have read they dont keep up the maintence in the park nor do they take care of the sick animals. They should be held accountable for their actions to these animals.. I hope Karma comes and bites them in the azz.. for what they are doing!!

  4. Well said!, it made me sick to read this article and know that I ride past # 1 when i go fishing,(VERY OFTEN) , down right disturbing....

  5. When were the death lists last updated?? I'm doing a school project on animal rights and would like to use this as information! Thanks

  6. Ya I am doing a school project on how people treat water animals I think that water animal should be released an sent to the wild and these places should be shut down and no more water animals should be trapped they should be left a lone with there family's and we all now that we would not want to be taken away from are family's .

  7. I agree they don't belong in captivity

  8. If they let all those animals go they won't know how to live in the wild that's the worst part of all of this...

  9. The worst part of it all is they can't let those animals go now otherwise they won't survive in the wild. They won't know how.