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© Peter Flood

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Orca Moana dies suddenly at Marineland

Moana, Marineland France

Twelve-year old orca, Moana has died suddenly at the Marineland Antibes theme park facility in France.

The exact cause of his death will probably not be revealed until the results of a necropsy are known.

Moana's mother Wikie, his brother Keijo, and his uncle Inouk remain at the facility, which is in poor condition.

WDC is involved in the NGO coalition Dolphinaria Free Europe (DFE), campaigning for an EU without dolphinariums. The French organization, OneVoice - also a member of DFE, reported in 2021 that Moana was in poor health. OneVoice had filed a complaint, calling for an independent investigation and a precautionary shutdown.

On October 13, OneVoice announced that, two years after its initial request, an independent investigation into Inouk and Moana had now been legally enforced. In support of the court's decision, independent experts submitted a report that found behavior issues with all four individuals, deep skin injuries in Moana, and poor dental health in Inouk.

A new French law introduced in 2020 states that the captivity of orcas in France will end by 2030. Marineland is therefore in contact with marine parks in Asia and the orcas may be relocated to Japan. The transfer has met with strong criticism both in the EU and in Japan: a group of Japanese animal rights activists has already launched a petition. All attempts by OneVoice and partners to set up a marine sanctuary for the remaining orcas in France have so far been unsuccessful. Marineland has refused to cooperate.

"Moana is the fourth orca to die in a dolphinarium in the EU in the last three years. It is high time to phase out the keeping of these intelligent and sensitive marine mammals in concrete tanks. WDC has been campaigning for the construction of coastal sanctuaries in which orcas and other dolphins in captivity could lead a more species-appropriate life if releasing them into the wild is not possible. However, this requires cooperation from all those involved," says WDC’s anti captivity campaigner Ulla Christina Ludewig.

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