Shouka Six Flags Killer Whale Update May 18, 2012 – France intervenes
With the pressure on Six Flags to find Shouka, their star killer whale a new compatible companion, news of her move is being discussed among attorneys. It was announced on May 17th, 2012 that Shouka is still on a breeding loan from Marineland France to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in California and a contractual dispute is occurring.
“That park loaned a killer whale to a Six Flags in California for breeding purposes. But suddenly Six Flags wants to give the animal away to an unrelated party in Canada. Now, the parks are in a contractual dispute over one very large marine mammal named Shouka.”
This announcement brings another surprise, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom is trying to relocate Shouka to a facility in Canada which just last year had a killer whale removed from their park due to not “caring properly for him“. SeaWorld Inc. had loaned a male killer whale to Marineland of Canada in 2006 and last year were forced into suit with Marinleand Canada to get their killer whale back. Marineland Canada filed suit against SeaWorld in retaliation to SeaWorld’s request to bring Ike back to SeaWorld…it became a bitter custody dispute with SeaWorld prevailing in the end.
The removal of Ike from Marineland Canada left the facility with only one 35 year old female orca named Kiska. Transferring Shouka to Marineland Canada is not in the best interest of Shouka. The laws in Canada regarding captive marine mammals are not as strict as U.S.A. laws which means the quality of care for an orca in Canada do not meet the minimum requirements of U.S.A. laws. If Kiska was to die, Shouka could be allowed to remain alone with no law to fight for Shouka’s rights in place. Orcas are extremely social beings. To live alone would be equal to a human being living in isolation for the remainder of their lives.
This move by Six Flags Discovery Kingdom proves they are not able to properly care for Shouka under the current U.S.A laws and are finally being forced to figure something out. Many believe that the best interest for Shouka would be to go back to France were she was born and also has some siblings who still reside there. In France Shouka has a sister, brother, half-brother, nephew and an unrelated older female with whom she lived the first 9 years of her life. France also raised Shouka for the first 9 years old her life and have more experience with Shouka.
Shouka had been singly house for the last 7 years with minimum access to a wild caught dolphin named Merlin. Also for a short time another bottlenose dolphin named Cupid had been housed with Shouka and Merlin. Six Flags trainers had hoped Cupid and Shouka would be able to perform together by Christmas of 2008. In the end Cupid was removed from Shouka Stadium and placed with other bottlenose dolphins that reside at Six Flags. In 2011 it was observed Shouka was no longer being housed with Merlin and she was all alone. Merlin had been moved to another part of the park with other bottlenose dolphins due to incompatibility issues between him and Shouka. With public pressure placed on APHIS to enforce the laws, Six Flags seems to now be defeated into acknowledging they can not properly find Shouka a compatible companion and must get rid of her but Canada is not the best option for Shouka either.
Here’s a bit of history about the orcas who have resided at Marineland Canada -
1. According to Zoocheck Canada, Marineland Canada has exhibited 29 killer whales since 1970 and only one orca resides there today. Out of the 29 killer whales they have owned 9 of those orcas were transfered to other facilities with only 2 of those orcas still alive today. Twenty killer whales have died in Marineland Canada’s care.
2. They housed “Junior” a young juvenile wild caught male orca in a warehouse hidden away from public with no natural sunlight for four years until he died. Junior was placed in the warehouse alone because he was beaten up on and did not get along with the other orcas. Footage of the conditions Junior was kept in during his time of isolation can seen in the documentary “A Fall From Freedom“.
3. All of the baby killer whales born at this facility have all DIED with the oldest living only 11 years.
1992 – Male baby lived only 2 months
1998 – Female baby lived only 11 days
1998 - Kanuck dies at 4 1/2 years old
2000 – Malik dies at almost 5 years old
2001 – Nova dies at 4 1/2 years old
2001 – Miscarriage of calf
2002 – Algonquin dies at 2 1/2 years old
2004 – April dies at 1 month old
2004 – Miscarriage of calf
2004 – Hudson dies at 6 years old
2004 – Neocia dies at 11 years old
2006 – Miscarriage of calf
2009 – Athena dies at 4 1/2 years old
4. Just in 2011 an American court of law found their facility to be unable to properly care for a killer whale and granted the killer whale be imported back to America.
Six Flags Discovery Kingdom claims to care so much about Shouka publicly yet are considering relocating her to a facility which was just proven unfit for a SeaWorld orca?
New undercover footage exposes neglect & abuse happening at Marineland Canada 2012
Our hopes are that Marineland France will step in and actually bring Shouka back home. The facility in France is much larger compared to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom and Marineland Canada. Watch for an upcoming campaign to Send Shouka Home.