Disturbing Videos Of Aquarium’s Last Surviving Orca Force Public To Call For Her Release

by : Emily Brown on :

Members of the public are calling for the release of an orca after disturbing footage of her hitting her head against the side of her enclosure was shared online. 

Kiska the killer whale was reportedly captured in Iceland in 1979 when she was three years old before being purchased by the aquarium MarineLand, located in Niagara Falls, Canada.


Over the years Kiska has been in captivity, she is said to have given birth to five calves, all of which died. Her other companions have also passed away or been moved to other facilities, and since 2011 she has been the last surviving orca at the aquarium.

Phil Demers, who used to work at MarineLand as a marine mammal trainer, is now advocating for Kiska’s release, and in July he drew attention to her situation by sharing a video of her ‘floating listlessly’ in her tank. Demers shared more videos this week following a protest on Saturday, September 4.

He told Narcity: ‘That was the annual MarineLand Labour Day Protest, but we decided to go a little further this year with a #FreeKiska march before the demo.’


The clips, taken from two different perspectives, show Kiska causing water to splash out of her enclosure as she repeatedly hit her head against the wall.

See one of the videos below. Warning: contains content some viewers may find distressing:

Alongside the videos, Demers wrote: ‘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.’


The former trainer said whales are ‘known to self-harm on rare occasions’, explaining that it ‘has been noted in captivity and at MarineLand.’


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The clips of Kiska have racked up thousands of views online, as well as thousands of responses from concerned viewers who have echoed Demers’ demands for the whale’s release.

One person wrote: ‘These few seconds have caused me real distress. How dare we do this to others who share our planet. #FreeKiska’.


Another commented: ‘This has to end …this is cruelty and senseless imprisonment. Please share so that Kiska can be freed !! #FREEKISKA’.

Following the release of the July video, animal law non-profit Animal Justice filed a complaint to the Ministry of the Solicitor General which alleged MarineLand was breaking the law by subjecting the orca to conditions that didn’t meet her physical and mental needs, CBC reports.


In May, MarineLand received two orders from Animal Welfare Services inspectors to repair the water system in the aquarium’s pools, with their report claiming the animals were in distress because of the poor water quality.

Though Canada’s Parliament has passed legislation banning whales, dolphins and porpoises from kept in captivity, MarineLand has an exemption because of the rule’s grandfather clause.

Demers has said another protest is set to take place in October and will be held at Queen’s Park in Toronto, Canada.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University and went on to contribute to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming Senior Journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news, trending stories and longer form features.

Topics: Animals, Canada, Orca


Phil Demers/Twitter
  1. Phil Demers/Twitter