Critical Action Needed for Animals at France’s Flooded Marineland
UPDATE, 12 October: 19 year old orca Valentin has just died at Marineland. This young whale was born in the park and spent his whole life in captivity. It’s now even more urgent that Marineland release its remaining orcas, before more animals like Valentin lose their lives in the deplorable conditions at the marine park.
Deadly flash floods hit the French Riviera this week – and the casualties include numerous animals who were imprisoned at Marineland, Europe’s biggest marine park.
Rays, sharks, turtles and other fish have already died, and marine mammals such as orcas are in critical danger because their tanks are flooded with muddy water and the oxygenation and filtration systems have broken down.
This dire situation should never have occurred. Animals don’t belong in tiny concrete tanks, and if the orcas and other animals had been in their natural ocean homes they would have been able to swim out of the muddy water in which they’re currently trapped and to safety.
These social, emotional and intelligent animals who were forcibly bred for profit have been suffering since the day they were born and now their lives are in imminent danger as they try to survive in a pit of muddy water.
John Hargrove, a former trainer at SeaWorld and Marineland, has commented on the plight of these animals in a letter to the marine park. He writes:
It breaks my heart to hear that Valentin, Inouk, Wikie and the other orcas at Marineland whom I love and once cared for are in grave danger.
Incredibly, the horrific water quality at the killer whale stadium today is not much worse than when I was a trainer there, when the subpar filtration system was ill-equipped to handle the volume of water and bioload of, at that time, seven orcas. There was no chilling system, which resulted in dangerously high levels of bacteria in the water, leading the whales to develop infections – as did I, since I was swimming with them every day. The filtration system was so inadequate that there was often zero visibility, and it could take close to a week before all the water was completely exchanged, resulting in standing algae on the water surface – proof of stagnant water. The malfunctioning chlorine-injection system caused eye burns so severe that they could potentially lead to blindness. The whales were once so badly burned that they couldn’t open their eyes for days, and sheets of skin from their head and back just peeled away. The whales were obviously in terrible pain.
How many more examples do you need to see that captivity is wrong and cruel? These social, emotional, intelligent animals have suffered their entire lives and now are in critical condition, all because they are being held captive for profit and greed.
Marineland must do the right thing and release the orcas. The situation is perilous and their lives are in grave danger as they try to survive in a pit of muddy water. There is no time to waste.
Marineland cannot in good conscience keep these animals enslaved in these perilous conditions – it must release them immediately.
This is Valentin, the orca who died this week, performing at Marineland last year:
No more of these beautiful animals should die.
Help empty the tanks ! Please send a quick email to Marineland bosses and ask them to release the park’s surviving animals to suitable sanctuaries immediately.