Oak Bay Orca Defaced, Covered Up Quickly.
It all started here. Tilikum, the subject of the breakout documentary Blackfish was taken from the waters off Iceland and first forced to perform in Oak Bay, at Sealand of the Pacific. That was over 30 years ago.
Now, the Oak Bay orca statue that is a tribute to that aquarium and it’s sordid history has been defaced with red paint. There is no message attached to the action. However, it could be motivated by recent news of Tilikum’s failing health at SeaWorld Orlando and his tortured life in captivity which started here in Oak Bay. Images were sent in by a community member walking their dog by the Marina Monday morning.
Tilikum is the largest orca in captivity. He has been the subject of great controversy as he killed two trainers and one other person during his life at Sealand of the Pacific and SeaWorld Orlando. The documentary Blackfish investigated the psychological trauma done to Tilikum since his capture from his family at two years old and its potential connections to his aggressive behaviour.
Activists have been calling for Tilikum’s release for decades, but despite years of mounting public pressure against SeaWorld Orlando nothing changed. There are currently 56 known orcas in captivity. Orcas in captivity generally live less than half their potential lifespan in the wild. Tilikum is 34 years old.
While Sealand may have emptied its tanks years ago, aquariums such as the Vancouver Aquarium continue to come under heavy criticism to do the same. A recent documentary, Vancouver Aquarium Uncovered, has exposed concerns of corruption within the organization and raised questions regarding the cruelty of keeping cetaceans in captivity. They currently keep two beluga whales at their facility.
Crews are now working to take down the statue and cover up the paint. There have been no reports of anyone taking responsibility for the actions at this time.
Victoria Animal News