World's Loneliest Orca Dies After More Than 40 Years In Captivity

Regrettably, the solitary orca, known as the loneliest in the world, has passed away while in captivity.

On Friday, March 10th, Animal Justice, the national organization for animal law, reported the news of Kiska's passing.

Following the passing of the cherished orca, who was subjected to years of captivity at the Niagara Falls aquarium, the organization is once again urging for Mainland's investigation and prosecution.


Taken from her family as a young calf near Iceland in 1979 and subsequently sold to the aquarium industry, the 46-year-old animal endured a lifetime of solitude while confined in a tank all alone.

For the past decade, she has been residing in seclusion within a concrete enclosure, where the Whale Sanctuary Project reports that she spends much of her time swimming in slow, repetitive circles, or stationary, gazing into the emptiness of her tank.


While she was no longer involved in performances leading up to her passing, she was still exhibited and held the distinction of being the only captive orca in all of Canada.

All of Kiska's offspring passed away at a young age, despite her having given birth to five calves.

In 2021, a video of Kiska repeatedly hitting her head against the walls of her enclosure gained widespread attention, prompting animal rights and anti-captivity activists to launch the hashtag '#FreeKiska'.


In more recent times, videos of Kiska floating aimlessly in an empty and solitary tank have garnered global attention, bringing to light the animal's distressing plight.

In January, drone footage captured the poignant and distressing sight of Kiska, which was described as heart-wrenching.

Phil Demers, a former head trainer of Marineland's arena in Canada, shared the 30-second drone footage.


"Wow, that's horrible. I wish people stop paying money to go to these places," one YouTube user commented at the time

"What's possibly more heartbreaking is that there's almost no chance of survival if they were to release Kiska into the wild," another wrote. "Nearly every orca that has once been in captivity and then released died very shortly after."

They continued: "If Kiska was born in captivity, then there is no chance of survival, as no captivity born orca released into the wild survived."


Animal Justice advocated for Kiska for more than ten years and lodged legal complaints urging an inquiry into Marineland's treatment of the orca.

Animal Justice played a role in enacting a provincial prohibition on orca captivity in Ontario in 2015, as well as a national ban on keeping whales and dolphins in captivity in 2019.

"It is heartbreaking to know that Kiska will never have the chance to be relocated to a whale sanctuary, and experience the freedom that she so deeply deserved," said lawyer Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice.


"While no other orca will have to suffer the cruelty of captivity in Canada again, we are demanding justice for what Kiska endured at the hands of Marineland."

"We are calling on provincial authorities to make public the results of a post-mortem, and prosecute Marineland for the unlawful distress Kiska clearly experienced throughout her final years."