Isolated For 10 Years, The “World’s Loneliest Orca” Filmed Banging Head Against Tank: #FreeKiska

Isolated For 10 Years, The “World’s Loneliest Orca” Filmed Banging Head Against Tank: #FreeKiska

The 44-year-old orca has been in captivity since 1979 and has spent the last decade alone.

Trigger Warning: This article contains details of animal captivity that readers may find distressing.

In a heartbreaking moment, a seemingly distressed orca named Kiska, known as 'the loneliest whale in the world' has been filmed banging her head against the side of her enclosure at a marine park in Canada. The 30-second clip was taken by anti-captivity activists at MarineLand, Niagara Falls, Canada. According to LADBible, Kiska is dubbed the 'world's loneliest' killer whale because she's currently the only whale at MarineLand in Ontario. The footage was capture by Phil Demers, who used to work at the park, but has had a change of heart after seeing the plight of animals in captivity. 



Posting another video Demers said, "Another angle. This is dangerous and self harming behaviour. Kiska is in distress." In another tweet, Demers claimed that "MarineLand has threatened me with legal action. #FreeKiska." Most animal lovers are in support of Demers' stance. One person tweeted: Animal captivity is wrong. I know we all have fond memories of zoos and water theme parks like Marine World, but imprisoning animals is horrible. Dolphins and orcas are usually starved before shows so they'll perform for fish. Another added: #Kiska deserves so much more. 



The 44-year-old orca has been in captivity since 1979 when she was captured in 1979 off the coast of Iceland, according to Demers. Kiska has spent the last 10 years alone after outliving her tank mates, including her five offspring. Demers said, "I want to see Kiska taken to an interim facility with other orcas until the Whale Sanctuary Project (in Nova Scotia) is built. Visitors can support find the Whale Sanctuary as well as support animal abuse whistleblowers at The Whale Sanctuary Project." According to The Whale Sanctuary Project, it states: Since 2011, Kiska has lived alone in her concrete tank. No family members swim by her side. No friends invite her to play. She holds the cruel distinction of being the only captive orca in North America held in social isolation from any other marine mammal. Video footage and eyewitness accounts depict her behavior as repetitive, unmotivated, and lethargic. When not swimming in slow circles, she often floats in place, staring at the emptiness that is the inside of her tank. Although still on display, Kiska no longer performs for the public. According to Marineland officials, she “spends her golden years doing what she wants.”



According to Rob Lott, the end captivity campaigner for the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Kiska's behavior is "a direct, stress-related result of wild-caught Icelandic orca, Kiska being raised in an artificial, concrete environment for the last four decades" Speaking to iNews, he shared, "Sadly, this isn't unique and the repetitive, self-inflicted behaviour shown by Kiska has been seen in other captive orcas where years of boredom in barren, featureless tanks with little or no stimulation manifests itself this way. Chronic stress can compromise captive orcas' immune systems and physiology causing illness and sometimes death. Kiska has been without an orca companion since 2011 and is deprived of every aspect of the social culture she would have experienced in the wild."

The 2013 documentary Blackfish shed light on orca captivity by sharing the bleak story of Tilikum, a performing orca at the US marine park SeaWorld. The documentary noted that the captured orca became more aggressive and suffered from post-traumatic stress, induced by life in captivity.  The whale ended up killing several people, including trainer Dawn Brancheau at SeaWorld in Orlando in 2010. The documentary later sparked a public outcry against orca captivity. SeaWorld announced the end of its orca breeding program in 2016, reports Yahoo.