'World's loneliest orca' Kiska dies aged 47 after living alone for decades in 'torturous' tiny tank | The Sun

AN ORCA dubbed the world's loneliest whale has died aged 47 after living alone for decades in a "torturous" tiny tank.

Kiska, who was captured in the North Atlantic Ocean in 1979 when she was only three years old, died at MarineLand in Canada.

Kiska was first taken to an aquarium in Iceland where she lived with four other young orcas, including Keiko – who starred in Free Willy.

Shortly afterwards, Kiska was sold, along with Keiko, to MarineLand.

She spent 12 years completely alone in a tiny tank, and heartbreaking footage showed her shaking and smashing her head against the wall.

Animal rights group PETA described Kiska as the "world's loneliest orca" whose life was marked by "tragedy after tragedy" after all five of her calves died before they were seven years old.

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Lawyer Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice, said: "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.

"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."

MarineLand said Kiska's health had declined in recent weeks.

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The theme park said: "Marine mammal care team and experts did everything possible to support Kiska's comfort and will mourn her loss."

MarineLand has had 26 orcas pass through its tanks since it opened in 1962 – with 20 of them dying there – the rest were traded or given away to other establishments.

Despite being social animals that thrive in groups, Kiska was left isolated from any other animal, not even another orca.

Distressed Kiska was frequently filmed swimming around in circles after spending more than a decade alone in her tank.

Researchers and activists believe her behaviour was a result of her damaged mental and physical health and wellbeing from prolonged captivity.

Animal activist Phil Demers said she was completely alone since 2011, which "is tantamount to torture for social beings such as orcas".

The former MarineLand employee said she repeatedly swam around her pool "in the exact same way, even stopping briefly in some shallow water to shake erratically".

Phil said watching her health deteriorate over the last 10 years has been "gut wrenching".

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He became a whistleblower and went to the media to expose what he claimed was wrongdoing by MarineLand a decade ago.

Brent Ross, a spokesman of the Canadian province's solicitor general ministry, said MarineLand has been inspected 160 times since January 2020 as part of Animal Welfare Services' work to ensure the standards of care are being met under the law.

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