Loro Parque has today announced the sudden death of 20-year-old orca Kohana at the facility. Kohana had suffered health issues for some time, a necropsy is to be carried out to determine the exact cause of death. Born May 2002 at SeaWorld, San Diego, Kohana gave birth to two calves in her lifetime, a male Adán in 2010 and female Victoria in 2012, who died at 10 months of age.
DFE member Marine Connection has been working alongside colleagues in Malta since reports of three missing dolphins were first revealed. The park initially advised that the dolphins had been moved to a facility in Spain, however upon further investigation, it was revealed the dolphins had in fact died at the facility. Since making this discovery the charity has worked alongside ministers in Malta to find out the cause of death and can now reveal that this was due to lead poisoning. An investigation into the park is now underway.
Parques Reunidos has decided to close their dolphinarium in Aquopolis, Costa Dorada (Spain), and has sent their nine dolphins to Hainan Ocean Paradise (China).
Current proposals for changes to the laws in Spain regarding animal welfare may have, in part resulted in this decision by Parques Reunidos, however as they have other parks in Spain and throughout Europe, could this be the start of a change to their business model, and if so, will more of their dolphins and whales follow to China. The closure of Aquopolis leaves Marineland, owned by Aspro Parks, the only facility left in the Catalonia region housing captive dolphins.
Male beluga whale Kairo has passed away at Valencia’s L’ Oceanografic. He was moved from Mar de Plata aquarium in Argentina in 2003, shortly after L’Oceanografic opened. Over the years, he fathered at least 2 calves, one that died at 25 days old in 2006 and another born in 2016, which is still living.
In 2019, former Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson approved permits to move two beluga whales from Marineland in Canada to L’Oceanogràfic as part of a research project, however, Dolphinaria-Free Europe pushed for this move to be stopped and to date, there have been no transfers. However, this latest whale death leaves female 26-year-old Yulka and her son Kylu, which is a real concern as L’ Oceanografic may push to import male belugas.
For decades Dolphinaria-Free Europe member Daniel Rolke, chairman of Swedish-based organisation Djuraättsalliansen (Animal Rights Alliance), has campaigned to close the dolphinarium at Kolmården having personally protested against the facility since 1993. We are therefore delighted to have received news from him earlier today that the dolphinarium is to close.
Daniel comments “Kolmården must now be accountable and close down the dolphinarium quickly and in a responsible way for the 12 remaining dolphins. It is important that they immediately stop any breeding at the dolphinarium, to ensure no new dolphins are born at the facility in the meantime. We are very happy that Kolmården Zoo is choosing to close the dolphinarium and the wishes we have held for decades will now become a reality.”
Dolphinaria-Free Europe will continue to support Djuraättsalliansen ongoing as plans for the future of the dolphins are discussed.
Spain’s Social Rights Minister, Ione Belarra announced during a recent press conference that as part of proposed changes to animal welfare laws, the country will be converting zoos and dolphinariums into recovery centres for native species. As Spain holds beluga whales which are non-native, how this will impact the public display industry is as yet unclear.