PETA US Buys Stock in Parques Reunidos in Bid to Release Orcas From Concrete Prisons

For Immediate Release:

7 March 2017


Jennifer White +44 (0) 20 7837 6327, ext 222; [email protected]


Purchase Allows Group to Advocate for Animals to Be Released Into Coastal Sanctuaries

London– PETA US has become a shareholder of Parques Reunidos, the parent company of Marineland in Antibes and the Miami Seaquarium in the US, in order to call for the orcas held in concrete cells at these dismal facilities to be released into seaside sanctuaries.

Four orcas – Wikie, Inouk, Moana, and Keijo – are currently trapped at Marineland, where at least 12 orcas have died since 1970, including 19-year-old Valentin, who died in 2015 from severe internal injuries after a storm caused the facility’s oxygenation and filtration systems to break down, leaving him trapped in a pool of muddy water. This happened just months after his mother, Freya, died decades short of the life expectancy of female orcas in the wild.

Lolita, the only orca at the Miami Seaquarium, has spent nearly half a century in captivity. She’s been alone since 1980, when her then tankmate, Hugo, died in an apparent suicide after ramming himself into the tank wall. PETA US’ stock purchase comes on the heels of the 37th anniversary of Hugo’s death.

“For decades, orcas in these inhumane cement prisons have banged their heads against walls, gnawed on metal gates, and died far short of their natural lifespans”, says PETA Director of International Programmes Mimi Bekhechi. “PETA is calling for these highly intelligent, social animals to be released into seaside sanctuaries where they’d be able to dive deep, feel the ocean currents, and finally lead meaningful lives.”

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” – notes that in the wild, orcas have stable cultural traditions and sophisticated social structures. They swim up to 160 kilometres per day, forage freely, and share close relationships with their extended families, with whom they usually remain for life. In contrast, captive orcas can only swim in circles inside small concrete tanks and are forced to perform circus-style tricks for food.

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