Deaths and Burials To Continue At Marineland Canada

This post courtesy of the Niagara, Ontario-based activist group Marineland Animal Defense, also known as M.A.D.

NIAGARA FALLS, ONTARIO – The Ministry of the Environment has now issued the captive animal facility Marineland Canada in Niagara Falls, ON, permits to continue burials on site at the facility.

Another demonstration in front of the Marineland amusement park in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Photo courtesy of Marineland Animal Defense

Another demonstration in front of the Marineland amusement park in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Photo courtesy of Marineland Animal Defense

 The announcement comes almost one year since the Ministry of the Environment was alerted that the park had been burying animals on site without permits. An investigation ensued and Marineland Canada was ordered to stop burials, until a full investigation and report of the environmental impacts could be made. 

The burials will now continue with a legal permit and a 35 point conditional list that Marineland must meet. 

In response to the new permits Marineland Canada claimed that their on site burials allows captive animals to “return to the natural ecosystem of the park.” It is absurd to claim that wild caught dolphins, Orcas and belugas – from Iceland, Russia and beyond – are part of a local ecosytem, or that any part of this process is in any way “natural.” The lid was blown off of the burial sites last year as ex park supervisor Jim Hammond described the burial sites to the Toronto Star. Mr. Hammond’s testimony claims there are four burial pits, the two largest containing “over 1,000 animals.” That stock would include deers, dolphins, belugas, orcas, sea lions, walruses, bears and more – including the 12 Orcas who have died at Marineland Canada since 1994. 

Ex-employee Jim Hammond has since been sued by the park for $1.5 Million dollars. The Toronto Star, which ran an investigative series, has also been sued. In total, 3 ex employees, 2 advocates and the main news sources covering this issue have been sued. 

Marineland Canada is currently down to it’s last remaining Orca – Kiska, a wild caught Orca who is the lone survivor of the parks failed captive Orca program. Activists from all over hold onto the hope that Kiska can be removed from this park before meeting the fate of all her previous tank mates – the Marineland mass graves. 

We also urge advocates to contact the Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Gail Shea to push for a ban on the import of wild caught marine mammals – a move that would stop the flow of wild caught animals into captive animal parks like Marineland. 

Gail Shea

100 School Street
Suite 204
Tignish, PE C0B 2B0
Tel: 902-882-4493
Fax: 902-882-4494

250 Water Street
Suite F
Summerside, PE C1N 1B3
Tel: 902-432-6899
Fax: 902-432-6853

Room 556, Confederation Building
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Tel: 613-992-9223
Fax: 613-992-1974

Toll Free: 1-800-224-0018


I am extremely concerned about the conditions at the captive animal facility Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ontario. As you may know, the current controversy is the result of a complete legislative void in regards to captive marine mammals in Canada. 

Although it is illegal to wild capture a marine mammal for display in Canada, it is still legal to import and export animals wild caught in other countries (namely Russia and Japan). This does not protect marine mammals at all. In 2001 Libby Davies (MP) introduced a private members motion urging for a closure of the wild capture loophole. That advice has never been followed through on and over that span of time many more animals have been captured, confined and died for the sole purpose of individual profit. 

The concern and outrage surrounding this issue is national and it deserves a response. Only by restructuring the laws will we see change that should have come decades ago. I sincerely hope that you will consider reintroducing the guidelines of that proposed motion and support measures to transition, and end, the captive marine mammal industry. 

Please keep me updated about this issue.


For more information on Marineland  Animal Defense and its efforts to advocate for the welfare of animals visit the group’s website at .

(Niagara At Large invites you to share your views on this post. A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who share their first and last name with them.)

4 responses to “Deaths and Burials To Continue At Marineland Canada

  1. The fact that Dylan Powell and “Marineland Animal Defense”. still believes that the most effective way to stop importing wild caught cetaceans into Canada is to petition the DFO and Minister Shea (who could care less) shows their complete lack of understanding about complex issues. The CITES agreement already provides opportunities for regulatory reform that do not require a change in legislation (which is extremely difficult to pass through the house). M.A.D. as usual are barking up the wrong tree and leading their followers into an exercise in futility. Maybe they can stick a guy in a bathtub outside the Minister’s office to cement their reputation as a group no one takes seriously.


  2. Patricia Fitzpatrick Naylor

    Marineland Animal Defence is NOT the only group protesting deplorable conditions and a cruel imprisonment for marine mammals and all other creatures used to make soul-less people rich. In fact, you don’t even need to be part of an organized activist group to realize what is wrong with the entire “non-humans” for entertainment industry. You need to have a conscience, a heart and live in this world where most of us know that all creatures deserve to live their lives in their own natural habitat. Perhaps a pre-fab habitat should be made for some humans to dwell in so that our race could finally understand that living until we die in a space comparable to a small bathroom is unacceptable. We have evolved. We need to start identifying right from wrong and act accordingly. Those who know me are aware that I am the 3rd generation of my family who have advocated for compassionate change for all species. My children and grandchildren are out there at Marineland protests with me. Dylan Powel is of the generation who was first to use the internet and social media to inform larger groups of people about the protests at Marineland. My mother and like-minded people used the telephone and the postal service. Trust me, awareness spreads faster now! Marineland had decades of protests before Dylan joined with us and Niagara Action for Animals at Marineland protests. He now seems to be the recognized face of Marineland protests but he and his organization are not the only people out there protesting. We all know that change comes far too slowly but change is happening. Awareness is prodding people’s understanding of this cause and for those of us who care so much, it will not matter who gets credit or who gets blamed when eventually everyone realizes that viewing captured creatures in an abnormal prison type of habitat is neither amusing or entertaining. It is sad that those who were courageous enough to expose deplorable conditions when they worked at Marineland are being financially punished for their integrity via vengeance law suits. Doing the right thing should be rewarded not punished. Certainly a newspaper or any news media should be able to discuss the concerns raised by Mareland’s former employees without law suits. Lastly, when did it become unlawful in Canada to object to something using signage and your voice during a protest while standing on public property? Yes, protesters usually speak against what they are protesting. Declaring why you are protesting is kind of the point. The upside is that nobody goes to court to stop protesters unless they are worried that the protesters are achieving what they came for.


  3. Hello my name is gillian and I just read this heart breaking acticle about the captive wildlife at marineland…I brought my son there just this summer …I went when I was little so I thought I would be a good family outting for us bot we were there maybe fokur hours ..we both left in tears ….we went to see the orca whale and I begain asking the trainer questions …I told her kiska look sad …she’s just floating in the corner of the tank …her response was that she old and that’s what they do when they r old they become lazy …I told her your wrong ..orcas are very social animals ..she’s clearly lonely …and the tank they had her in was way to small she needed more room..I then asked her if they spend time with her …play with her or rub her down or do any excersizes with her ..she replied no they try to spend as little time as possible with her because of the orca who attacked that lady in florida …I then replied …that they were cruel and should release her …I said what do u expect this large mamal to do when your locking her in a bathtub and saying perform I asked her how shed react being locked in a closet for years then her captor opens the door what would she do …I said of corse this orca attacked …she belongs in the ocean …orcas swim a great distance everyday and she’s not getting that excersise and the stimulation she needs…I said not to mention that each pod has their own dialect ..its almost like a different language …I said this poor orca doesn’t even know what she’s saying cause she has no one to communicate with ….how sad ….what did she ever do to deserve a life in solidairy confinement …the lady then told me she could not talk to me about the issues and then asked me to plz leave the enlcosure ….I was disgusted …all I could do was look at kiska and say sorry …sorry that I coudlnt help her…sorry that she. Will never have the life she deserves ….I don’t think any animal should be held captive ..if an animals hurt and your need to reabilitate them I’m all for it as long as they are released when they are better …but I strongly believe that not any animal .should be abducted from there home …thanks for listening to my opinion and I hope we all can work together and do something about this….so that kiiska doesn’t meat the same fate the others did …..xoxoxoxox kiska …I’m always thinking of u


    • I agree with you. Captivity of sea mammals or land animals is cruel. In the U.S. one Orca in captivity is illegal because Orcas are social beings. They do not mix well with Orcas from outside of there pods. The mix of Orcas found in a marine park like Marineland is not a family. Kiska alone is unforgiving. All captivity is unforgiving. These animals are living in jail like conditions during the long cold winters. No wonder so many thousands of Marineland animals are buried at the park. I am driving for 10 hours to protest Saturday may 17th. Government is useless. The park pays the government a large amount if money and the park employs residents of Niagara Falls. At the very least people should continue to speak out and one day this madness will end. We lived in a world with many injustice’s such as wonen not being allowed to vote, interracial or gay marriages, slavery to name a few. Animal abuse doesn’t mean we think John Homer is out there punching and kicking his captive performers. Animal abuse is a tiny cement tank with a beautiful majestic intelligent Whale inside it. Animal abuse is the inhumane living conditions all of ML animals fight to stay alive in. Paul Bernardo is a criminal who lives in confinement. Kiska has lost all of her calf’s at very young ages. She swims lustfully in sn over chlorinated cement tank and she most likely will die there too. Government doesnt care. But dont forget to get a tag for your dog because thats important. No regulations for having an Orca. Blackfish opened my eyes and I am certain in time the children will have no desire to see Marineland animals because they know its wrong. Once you loose the children you lost. John Holer is only doing this for the money. A day will come when ticket sales will be too low to keep these animals alive for our entertainment.


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