January 8th 2008
On this day in Marineland history female blackfish Nootka (v) died at the Niagara Falls facility. Nootka was captured off the coast of Iceland in the fall of 1979 with five other orcas. She was brought to Hafnarfjordur Aquarium before being shipped to Marineland in October 1981.
Nootka was named after the First Nations tribe that lived in parts of British Colombia and Washington. By all accounts Nootka was a very intelligent orca and learned many behaviors during her time at Marineland, she could be moody however but was noted as the best performer.
While in captivity at Marineland Nootka spent much of her life in Marineland's cramped stadium pool. She became pregnant 8 times, none of her calves are alive today. She lived 26 years in captivity and died at an approximate age of 40 which is less than half of the average lifespan for female orcas in the wild.
Her cause of death has never been released by Marineland however when she died park spokesperson Ann Marie Rondinelli stated ownership was "heartbroken". Nootka was buried on Marineland property in a mass gravesite with other animals.