For the third consecutive weekend since opening for the season Marineland was the scene of a demonstration on Saturday. Once again advocates setup camp outside the main gates on public property holding signs, talking to customers and calling for a release plan for Marineland's last remaining orca, Kiska. Captured off the coast of Iceland, Kiska has been at Marineland for nearly four decades with the last of those few years being spent alone. Orcas are extremely social creatures who live in large family pods, leaving one to live alone is akin to a human being left indefinitely in solitary confinement.
At its peak the demo drew approximately 100 people and Niagara Regional Police were once again on hand to assist with traffic control. The atmosphere was festive and friendly with people travelling as far away as Barrie, London, Kitchener, Sudbury and even Texas to attend. Several advocacy groups were also on hand including Fins & Fluke, Ontario Captive Animal Watch, Niagara Action for Animals, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Orca United. One of organizers, Alex Dorer explained the theme of the demonstration - #FreeKiska
"We wanted to turn the focus on Kiska. All of us together felt it was necessary for locals and customers of Marineland to know about Kiska and her demise. I think plenty of people this weekend are now aware of her miserable and sad life and can agree she deserves better."
Dorer was pleased with how the demonstration turned out:
The demo went amazingly well. Everyone was peaceful, kind and courteous. We were are grateful to those that made it out and spent time educating the public about Canada's last captive orca. It was an added bonus to have Phil Demers, Christine Santos and Mike Garrett present also."
Demers, Santos and Garrett are all currently facing litigation from Marineland for speaking out against the park. Demonstrators supported the trio by raising funds for their legal costs.
The owner of Marineland, John Holer could be seen slowly driving by the demonstrators in his SUV on multiple occasions, each time eliciting jeers from the crowd. Marineland staff looked on recording the protesters with a video camera.
Photos courtesy of Troy Oakley