Don’t send orcas to Japan: association against Marineland in France

Screenshot of a video posted by One Voice on social media showing the exercise three killer whales are subjected to at the Marinaland aquarium in France

AND’killer whale just 12 years old, Moana, who died in October last year. three more Inouk, Wikie and Keijo, of which we try to avoid the transfer of va Dolphinarium in Japan. A dolphin born in the same aquarium as orcas died after a few days, at the end of 2023.exercises today scheduled to train orcas to voluntarily get on transport stretchers in case of any transfers.

And the suspicion that much, perhaps all, is due to the desire to get rid of captive killer whales by 2026, the year when law passed in France to end in 2021 commercial exploitation of cetaceans. There are many shadows hanging over Marineland, the water theme park in Antibes, which is considered one of the largest in northern France.

A crane used to lift killer whales during exercise (Credits: One Voice)

Already in 2019, there was talk of a possible transfer of the killer whales, which were still four at the time, including Moana, who died last year, from a French water park to an amusement park in China. And already in 2019, this hypothesis was strongly opposed association for animal rightsguided One voice who never stopped watching the happenings of these four sea animals. Letter addressed to President Macron called for institutional intervention to prevent the move to a country where animal welfare it is considered practically optional in their management and where use for commercial purposes is the order of the day. This time, however, the final destination of the hypothetical move is Japan, according to what One Voice has again gathered, at a recently constructed water park.

Even associations Born freefounding member Dolphinarium Free Europe (DFE)a coalition of NGOs and individuals working together to end the captivity of whales, dolphins and porpoises across Europe has taken steps to condemn risk of transmission and to support One Voice. According to the association, «One Voice was not given the opportunity to present to the French court its detailed evidence about the health and well-being of the orcas that remained at Marineland. Instead, alternative “experts” were consulted who were in favor of moving to Japan, apparently with the support of the French authorities.” The aim could instead be to identify the gods sanctuaries in the Mediterranean or to Northern Europe, where they will be transferred by 2026, when the law enters into force. Sanctuaries where the basic rules of animal welfare are respected and killer whales can continue to live with respect for their ethology.

Exercise detail: three killer whales can be seen surrounded by technicians performing an exercise in one of the aquarium’s pools (Credit: One Voice)

But it is precisely the French authorities categorically deny news of the move to Japan. As reported by the newspaper Le Figarò, which collected the statement Secretary of State for Biodiversity, Sarah El Hairy. “It is not possible to transport killer whales without notifying the authorities and preparing for a planned exercise,” the official explained. – The export of animals is regulated by CITES regulations, so in order to relocate its orcas, Marineland must request a CITES permit issued by the administration that verifies the conditions of transport and reception of the animals in the destination country. To date, the administration has not received any project applications in this regard from Marineland.”

Furthermore, according to the official, the hypothesis of a move is possible, but the conditions in the marine reserves of Nova Scotia, Greece or Italy are also being verified. Sarah El Hairy herself ordered an inspection last November to check the health of the three surviving killer whales, a few weeks after Moana’s sudden death. The results of the report have not yet been released, but the official assured that «the prefecture has contacted two independent veterinarians. The first conclusions do not raise any alarm about the living conditions of the remaining killer whales and show that they are in Good Health, while the first elements of Moana’s autopsy do not yet allow us to know the exact cause of death, but in-depth bacteriological analyzes are underway in a specialized laboratory. The results should be in within the next few weeks.”

However, despite the official’s assurances, the associations counted on one anyway mobilization. One Voice watches every hour what is happening in front of the entrance to the French water park and continuously informs about it on social networks. He had already witnessed the presence of one since yesterday giant crane just before the entrance to the water park. While a few minutes ago there is a video that clearly shows how the announced exercise began: the pools were practically emptied and the three killer whales, surrounded by a large group of technicians and workers who forced them onto real stretchers, were lowered into the pools directly from the previously photographed crane. Killer whales writhe in a few inches of water, wags its tail repeatedly and vigorouslythey struggle to free themselves from the grip of dozens of hands pushing them towards the cloth stretcher they must board.

It will certainly be an exercise, if the facts are not denied, but it is certainly not a pleasant moment for the killer whales: they are not playing, they are not swimming, they are surrounded by men in helmets who push them with all their might. their strengths. Although it is no drill, it is certainly not their paradise either.

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