Hello and welcome to the first Whale Wednesday blog of 2016! Here’s to hoping that this list doesn’t grow this year at all!
This week, we’re looking at the life of an orca who is currently the only orca in captivity in Canada. Meet Kiska, yet another lonely killer whale who has no other orca to interact with in her small tank.
Life at Marineland
Kiska is a wild-born Icelandic orca and was captured in Iceland when she was just 3 years old in 1979. She is currently 39 years old and is around 20 feet in length and weighs 6,500 pounds.
During her time in captivity, Kiska has been bred multiple times to a male orca known as Kandu 7. Sadly, all 5 of her calves passed away at a young age and many people believe that it is due to Kandu’s genes that they were all born with illnesses as he was the father to all the calves that were born within the park in Ontario.
Three of her five calves didn’t live past the age of 6 and there have been multiple occasions where Marineland have been pulled up on their level of care that they give the animals in the park.
The Introduction of Ikaika
In 2006, Marineland became the home of a 4 year old male orca named Ikaika, who was sent to the park by SeaWorld. Two other whales lived with Kiska and Ike and were named Nootka 5 and Athena, but over the years, they sadly passed away, leaving Ikaika as Kiska’s only other companion.
However, as Ikaika grew older, he began to harass Kiska and he two were often separated to avoid fighting between the two mammals.
In 2011, Ike was transferred back to SeaWorld San Diego after a disagreement between the two parks. Kiska is now the only orca residing in Marineland.
How to Identify Kiska
Although Kiska is the only orca at Marineland, I thought it was only fair that I described how to identify her- after all, each orca hs various different false eye-patches and saddle patches.
Kiska has an elongated right patch behind her eye, and a smaller, rounded patch on her left. Her dorsal fin also leans slightly to the left and she has many little black freckles on the white section under her jaw.
She has a very prominent dent in the skin of her right eye-patch, possibly as a result of a rake from another whale at some point in her life.
Kiska has also often been seen with blood trailing from her flukes, sometimes for months at a time. You can see evidence of this in the video above. It is not currently known why this occurs.
Kiska’s story is far too similar to that of Lolita, and for that reason amongst various others, it makes me sad to hear that she’s still suffering alone in a tank with no other interactions with other killer whales.
You’ve probably already witnessed how passionate I am about killer whales, so if you’d like to keep up to date with all my latest Whale Wednesday posts, be sure to hop over to my Facebook and Twitter and give me a like and a follow! I don’t bite, I promise!