Leah Taylor Roy
Hope for Kiska
Updated: Nov 17, 2022
Smooshi and Koyuk, a mother and baby walrus are leaving Marineland! As soon as possible, they are moving to a location where they will be with others of their species. Phil Demers, also known as the walrus whisperer, was an employee of Marineland but quit his job in 2012 and became an activist, working to have Smooshie and Koyuk moved and alleging that animals at Marineland are abused. Demers has also been involved in documenting Kiska’s situation and advocating for the lonely Orca. Smooshie and Koyuk’s story give us hope for Kiska.
Smooshie’s story is not so different from Kiska’s in that the seven other walruses that arrived in 2001, 2002 and 2004, died, leaving her alone until the birth of Koyuk. But her baby lived, while none of Kiska’s did.
If the walruses can be relocated, then there is hope that Kiska can be found a more humane home than Marineland. Kiska, completely alone, is kept in a concrete tank with no other sea life and has been videoed self-harming by smashing herself against the sides of the enclosure. When this footage emerged last year, Animal Justice lawyers filed a legal complaint with authorities, who are now investigating her well-being.
The lawsuit between Phil Demers and Marineland took 10 years to conclude, but the resolution was in the walrus’ favour. We hope that it will not take that long for Kiska but the reality is that until there is a viable, alternate home, she is stuck in Marineland.
The best we can do for Kiska is to support the whale sanctuary in Port Hilford, Nova Scotia. For two years, they’ve been gathering crucial data to better understand the ocean environment where the whales will live and to submit to the Canadian government to obtain necessary permits. If you’d like to know more or donate to the whale sanctuary, please visit their website https://whalesanctuaryproject.org/ You can also follow the sanctuary on Facebook at The Whale Sanctuary Project.