Fri. Mar 1st, 2024

Marineland : a 15th beluga dead in 4  ;ans

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Fifteen belugas have died at the Marineland water park in Niagara Falls since 2019. The province, however, assures that it continues to conduct compliance inspections. (Archive photo)

Radio-Canada

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Another beluga died in Marineland, bringing the number of white whale deaths at the Niagara Falls water park to 15 in the past four years.

The department is aware of the deaths of a beluga and a sea lion at Marineland, says the spokesperson for the Ontario Ministry of the Solicitor General in an email.

Since January 2020, Marineland has notified the department of the deaths of 14 beluga whales, a killer whale, a bottlenose dolphin, a bottlenose dolphin, a harbor seal, a gray seal and two California sea lions, he adds.

Animal protection services are investigating on the amusement park since that date.

Marineland did not respond to a request for comment from the Canadian Press. However, the park boasts on its site a solid record in terms of the well-being of its animals and assures that it wants to continue to give priority to their health and well-being.

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The office of Solicitor General Michael Kerzner, who oversees the ministry responsible for services of Animal Protection, reiterated that Ontario is a leader in animal protection.

Animal Welfare Services continues to conduct compliance inspections at Marineland to determine whether standards of care are being met, Hunter Kell, spokesperson for the Solicitor General, said by email.

As previously stated, Animal Welfare Services will not hesitate to issue orders if Marineland fails to comply with all rules, regulations and standards of care regarding animal welfare.

News of the death of another beluga whale at the park came days after the death of a third beluga whale that was transferred from Marineland to Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut in 2021.

Marineland sold five white whales to the US facility. Mystic argues that the deaths of the other two belugas were caused by pre-existing conditions they already suffered from when they left Marineland.

The US government launched an investigation after the first two deaths. This is still in progress.

The Canadian government, for its part, has not looked into this transfer.

The week the belugas were relocated, Ontario Animal Welfare Services found that all marine mammals at Marineland were in distress due to poor water quality. /p>

In court documents, Marineland denied its animals were in distress and refuted that water played a role in the belugas' deaths .

A few weeks ago, Phil Demers, a former Marineland trainer who is now co-founder of the animal rights organization UrgentSeas, launched a drone over Marineland's beluga tanks, which are closed to the public for the winter.

The video captured by this drone was published online by UrgentSeas. In it, we seemed to see a beluga floating listlessly, notes Mr. Demers.

He didn't look in good health, he said. Its appearance reminded me of that of the belugas that I was able to see just before they died during my visit to Marineland.

Last Sunday, the The group once again deployed its drone above the pools and counted 36 belugas. There were 37 white whales when The Canadian Press visited the site last June.

We should be angry to see that belugas are dying in large numbers , but it is all the more frustrating to see that nothing is being done to correct the situation, deplores Mr. Demers.

Ontario's investigation into Marineland, ongoing for four years, remains shrouded in mystery. Officials declined to release details of their investigation or how the animals died.

With information from The Canadian Press

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