Kiska, known to many as the world’s loneliest orca whale, has died.
The mammal’s death was announced Friday by Marineland in Niagra Falls, Ontario where she’s been living for the past several decades. The theme park said in a statement, “Marineland’s marine mammal care team and experts did everything possible to support Kiska’s comfort and will mourn her loss.”
Kiska was captured back in 1979 when she was only 3 years old … living with a few orcas at an aquarium in Iceland before being sold to Marineland. While in Iceland, she was a tankmate with an orca named Keiko — future star of the hit film, “Free Willy.”
During her time at Marineland, Kiska gave birth to 5 calves, but they all tragically died at a young age before her. She’s been by herself since 2011, hence the sad nickname — and studies have shown orcas are social mammals, and isolation like this is considered torture.
This video was taken on Sept 4th, 2021. Anti-captivity activists entered MarineLand and observed Kiska, their last surviving orca bashing her head against the wall. Please watch and share. This cruelty must end. #FreeKiska pic.twitter.com/sBCaKleH19
— Phil Demers (@walruswhisperer) September 8, 2021
Marineland has been criticized for mistreatment of its animals since the ’70s, but a viral video of Kiska banging her head against the glass picked up steam in 2021, and an investigation into the facility was held … although prosecutors later said they wouldn’t pursue animal cruelty charges.
BREAKING: Video taken above MarineLand on Feb 19/2023 shows Kiska, their last surviving orca swimming in circles in her tiny, concrete tank. She remains under 24 hour supervision for health concerns. More to come. #FreeKiska #WorldWhaleDay pic.twitter.com/otJ4lBpkWf
— Phil Demers (@walruswhisperer) February 19, 2023
Another clip from earlier this year showed her doing constant circles in her tank … still swimming solo after over a decade of solitude.