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Meet the Whales: The French Three

A rescue of this small Orca family held captive in France is time sensitive and urgent, as they recently dwindled from four to three surviving family members.

In November 2021, the French parliament decided that the commercial exploitation of cetaceans will be banned by 2026.

Unfortunately, the new law does not include a ban on transfers. Marineland has realized there is no financial future in having Orcas on public display. Maintaining the stadium, feeding, and medicating the Orcas is expensive and according to anonymous source, Marineland has decided to make the liabilities just disappear by sending the Orcas to amusement parks in Japan. The aquarium animal industry in Japan is notorious for exploiting and abusing marine life in the name of entertainment and profiteering.

Marineland has chosen the easiest and most irresponsible way out, instead of helping to establish an ocean sanctuary where the family of three--Inouk, Wikie, and Keijo--after years of exploitation could retire with some dignity and quality of life.

On January 9th, a large crane was positioned by the Orca stadium at Marineland. Marineland staff lowered the water in one of the tanks and started exposing the Orcas to various transport equipment. The staff tried to force the Orcas into the stretchers, but were not successful as the Orcas resisted.

Then a court decision was handed down on January 17, 2024, after the animal welfare organizations One Voice brought a case before the Grasse court. The health of the animals and the tanks would be assessed. The Orcas will now remain at Marineland for the next four months.

Then C'est Asssez!, another non-profit organization, referred the matter to the French Council of State on Wednesday, January 17th, calling for a ban on all transfers of captive cetaceans for commercial purposes. Only transfers to structures such as marine sanctuaries would be authorized. If this procedure is successful, captive Orcas and dolphins from France will not be able to exported to other institutions.

In order to free this small family of Orcas from their precarious situation, we will do all we can to take them into our Sanctuary to rehabilitate them with the aim of releasing them back into the wild. Even though they are Icelandic Orcas and were all born in captivity, we are confident that they would be able to navigate other waters and adapt to new circumstances if they were prepared and given the chance at Freedom.

Wikie the female orca performs at Marineland Antibes in France, Wilkie the killer whale, save the whales, Haida Orca Sanctuary, We Belong to the Sea, End orca captivity

Wikie (Female, 23 years old)

  • Wikie was born in captivity at Marineland Antibes in France

  • She is 100% Icelandic Orca Whale

  • Her parents were wild caught Icelandic Orcas

  • She is a very attentive mother, even though she wa sseparated from her mother for the first 18 months of her life

  • She birthed her first calf at only 9 years old, which is much too young as Orcas normally have their first calf at the age of 14

  • She tragically lost her first calf, Moana (12) and a newborn baby (2 days old) in 2023

  • She is known as "the world's first talking whale" and can imitate human speech to say 'hello', 'bye bye', and can count to three

  • Wikie is currently held captive at Marineland Antibes in France

Inouk the Icelandic Orca Whale performs in front of a crowd at Marineland Antibes in France, animal cruelty at Marineland France, Orcas born in captivity, Haida Orca Sanctuary, We Belong to the Sea

Inouk (Male, 24 years old)

  • Inouk was born in captivity at Marineland Antibes in France

  • He is 100% Icelandic Orca Whale

  • His parents were wild caught Icelandic Orcas

  • He is dominated by all other whales

  • He is motivated to learn and maintains attention in longer or difficult situations

  • Inouk is often sick due to aggression of other animals or teeth infections. It is likely that he is in constant pain because of his chronic and extensive tooth damage

  • He shows stereotypical stress-related behavior (teeth grinding and regurgitation)

  • His dorsal fin is drooping, which is a sign of unhealthiness due to extreme confinement in captivity. This drooping is mostly seen in whales

  • Inouk is currently held captive at Marineland Antibes in France

Keijo the Icelandic Orca performs tricks at Marineland Antibes in France, captive born Orcas, EU animal abuse, save the whales, Haida Orca Sanctuary, We Belong to the Sea, the French Three Orcas

Keijo (Male, 10 years old)

  • Keijo was born in captivity at Marineland Antibes in France

  • He is 100% Icelandic Whale

  • He is 12.5% inbred

  • He is very close to his mother, Wikie, and his uncle, Inouk

  • He snout is damaged due to stereotypical high stress behavior (banging on the windows)

  • In the wake of the death of his tank mate, Freya, he tool solace in training, showing real passion for learning tricks. However, as the years went by his need for stimulation was no longer being met

  • His tank mate, Freya, and another whale, Valentin, was caused by flooding and pollution in their tank

  • Keijo is currently being held captive at Marineland Antibes in France

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