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Marineland’s Intimidation Tactics

It’s a tactic that’s typical of corporations whose employees start blowing the whistle: Threaten a giant lawsuit.

Marineland, the Canadian zoo that’s been the subject of a series of exposés by the Toronto Star, is threatening to sue a former trainer for more than $1 million for telling the newspaper that its lone and lonely killer whale Kiska was bleeding sporadically from her tail. [readon]

Marineland says that senior trainer Christine Santos spoke “in complete carelessness, reckless and/or negligent disregard for the truth.”

Santos is not backing down. “I feel like I am being bullied,” she said. “I was telling the truth. I am worried about Kiska.”  Video of Kiska shows her clearly trailing blood around her tank. (The Toronto Star has video here.)

Santos told the Star she’d seen Kiska cut her dorsal fin on sharp fiberglass grates in her Friendship Cove pool, but didn’t know how she cut her tail. Marineland argues that it’s “normal behavior” for captive orcas to rub the side of the pool and cause bleeding.

Other videos of Kiska show her to be a depressed animal who slowly circles her pool, completely lacking in the mental, physical and emotional stimulation these highly intelligent, social animals have in the company of their large families in the wild. Here’s one such video from a visitor to the marine zoo:

Kiska has been entirely alone since SeaWorld took back an orca it had loaned to Marineland last year.