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Beluga whale, bottlenose dolphin die at Marineland


A beluga whale and bottlenose dolphin have died at Marineland, the Ministry of the Solicitor General confirmed Monday.

In a statement to CTV News Toronto, the ministry said it had been advised by the Niagara Falls, Ont., facility of the deaths. It did not specify when they took place.

CTV News Toronto has reached out to Marineland for a statement on the animals’ deaths but did not receive a response by publication.

“[The ministry] continues to conduct compliance inspections at Marineland to determine if the standards of care are being met,” spokesperson Brent Ross said.

Necropsies of both animals were conducted by professionals retained by Marineland, Ross said. Due to the ministry's ongoing inspection of the facility, it said it could not provide further detail.

The latest deaths mark the third confirmed death of an animal at the aquarium and theme park in recent months. In March, Kiska, Canada’s last living orca in captivity, died after more than 40 years at the park.

On Monday morning, World Animal Protection, an international non-profit organization, issued a statement on the deaths.

“It’s deeply disturbing to hear reports that a beluga whale and dolphin are the latest animals to die at Marineland,” said Michèle Hamers, World Animal Protection’s Wildlife Campaign Manager. “It raises many questions around the state of care and reinforces ongoing concerns around the wellbeing of the rest of the animals at the facility.”

The organization is calling on the government to conduct a “comprehensive” investigation into the causes of death, and current conditions in animal enclosures and aquariums.

It also called on Solicitor General Michael Kerzner to implement strict regulations and enforcement at the facility, “before more animals suffer and someone gets hurt.”

Ross said the ministry will not hesitate to issue orders if Marineland is not in compliance with provincial regulations and standards of care.

Ontario’s Animal Welfare Services has been conducting an inspection at Marineland since July 2020 over concerns about the park’s water.

In 2021, it found all marine mammals to be in distress due to the water, court documents show. Marineland has refuted those findings.

Three years later, the inspection is ongoing.

With files from The Canadian Press. Top Stories

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