Niagara Falls, Canada
Park News - (4/29/13) Turning things around, Marineland has now filed a $7 million defamation lawsuit against the Toronto Star and two of their reporters who had written several articles of concern regarding the treatment of the animals at the theme park over the past year. The park underwent a four-month long investigation which found no signs of any of the animal abuse accusations reported by the Star.
(1/23/13) A four month investigation into the conditions at Marineland is over and no signs of abuse were found, and no charges are being pressed against the park. However, Marineland has been issued seven orders to make improvements in water quality, animal safety and veterinary care.
(1/16/13) The investigation into the animal gravesites at Marineland is over and it was determined that they post no threat to the water quality in the area. However… Marineland has been ordered to stop burying any more animals on site for now.
(1/1/13) Marineland is in the news again this week, as the excavation of a mass animal grave discovered at Marineland began last week under the supervision of the Ministry of the Environment who will determine if the burial sites pose a hazard. The investigation was conducted after former park employees claimed that there were four such sites on park property. The park is cooperating with the investigation, and has confirmed the sites and has nothing to hide.
“This morning Marineland was visited by an inspector from Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment looking for information on animal interment at our park. He was welcomed and our staff fully cooperated with his requests. He viewed the site where we have sadly, had to bury old and sick animals who have died here through the years. Another team will arrive (Thursday). They, too, will be welcomed here. We expect that their inspection will be completed quickly.”
It is important to know that the inspection is not about the existence of the graves themselves, but to ensure that they will not have a negative impact to the surrounding environment.
(11/22/12) Marineland claims they are still looking to find a companion for their lone Killer Whale, Kiska. The previous companion whale, Ikaika, was on loan from SeaWorld and became the subject of a hot legal fight when SeaWorld suddenly had serious reservations about leaving the whale at Marineland who refused to give it back. SeaWorld then took legal action and was forced to retrieve the whale in the middle of the night with a police escort.
The article mentions a previous deal to obtain another whale that fell through, which was Shouka from Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, who ironically also ended up being moved to SeaWorld California along with Ikaika. At this point however, the selection of available Killer Whales are few and far between, not leaving Marineland with a lot of options. The recent allegations of less than perfect animal living conditions, combined with SeaWorld’s unexplained demands for the immediate return of Ikaika last year are probably enough to make any other facility with an available whale think twice as well.
(10/9/12) A horde of protesters rushed the gates of Marineland over the weekend, but the situation was quickly brought under control by the local police.
(10/5/12) The local news reports that Marineland passed their inspection by the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums, with no major issues discovered. According to the report from the inspectors, the water quality was very good, as was the health of the park’s animals, and they seemed to have a very adequate veterinary and animal care staff to maintain the park.
(9/14/12) Another former Marineland employee (Jim Hammond, former supervisor of land animals) has come forward with terrible tales about how the animals are treated at the park before he resigned last year. The final straw for him was when a red deer in the park became seriously injured and needed to be put down. That simple fact wasn’t the issue, it was when he asked John Holer (the owner) to bring in a vet to euthanize the deer, only to have Holer pull out a 12-gauge shotgun and shoot it himself.
After Holer drove off, the situation become more grim when the animal did not simply die. Shot through the windpipe, gasping for air and struggling to survive, he called the owner on the phone and asked him to either call the vet to “do it right” or come back and finish the job himself. Instead Holer refused to do either an instructed Jim to use the knife left in the back of the wagon. Reluctantly, he did what he was told.
The problems also extend to the crowded bear enclosure, where the adult males would end up killing and eating the newborn bear cubs who were not sheltered away in a protective area out of harms way. Make the jump and read the article at TheStar… it is quite shocking to say the least.
(8/20/12) The video and article from the Toronto Star with claims of poor living conditions for the animals of Marineworld has been quite the buzz lately. The Niagara Falls Humane Society has confirmed that they will plan a unannounced visit to the park very soon to look into the matter. Meanwhile the park’s owner, John Holer has posted a public message on the park’s website in response to the allegations where he states, “I have dedicated my life to developing one of the world's best facilities for animal and marine mammal care, where guests can learn about animals through an exciting mix of entertainment and education. Marineland staff members and I consider each Marineland animal resident a member of the family. I will spare no expense when it comes to the health and well being of the animals in my care. ”
(8/16/12) While I’m not one to normally post this kind of story, the tale told at TheStar.com about the condition of the animals at Marineland in Canada near Niagara Falls is a bit too shocking to ignore. Give the article a read, watch the video and see what you think as former trainers and animal care staff paint a very dim picture of how poor water conditions has been harming the park’s animals.
(5/9/12) A few readers have contacted Marineland regarding the fate of the Topple Tower ride and were told, “Topple Tower is in construction, it is being worked on, however we do not see in the foreseeable future that it will be running this year.” If I had to guess, I wouldn’t be surprised if Marineland is involved in their own negotiations with Huss as Dollywood was before they reached a settlement.
(5/7/12) Marineland has updated their website to remove any and all mentions of the Topple Tower ride. As reported last fall, the ride had been closed for most of the 2011 season already and was rumored to be possibly down for the count due to a major structural crack. The ride’s demise was rumored back then, and it looks like Marineland may have decided to follow Dollywood’s course of action and just remove the troublesome ride.
(9/19/11) According to the Access Niagara website, Marineland’s Topple Tower ride (from Huss) has been sitting closed for the past three months. Fans of Dollywood already know this song and dance, as their Topple Tower ride was closed so often for so many problems that Dollywood took legal action against Huss over it. Back to Marineland… according to the latest online report, their Topple Tower may be out of action for good (or a long long time) due to a structural crack.
2013 - Nothing is known at this point in time...
???? - Terrors of the Sea - Under Construction - (11/2/09) While construction on the Terrors of the Sea shark exhibit started back in 2006, I heard no updates at all over the 2009 season about it opening. Anyone know what the status of this project is? Like most MarineLand projects, delays and slow construction timetables are typical so you just never know when anything will really open.
(9/8/06) If you check out the AccessNiagara.com blog, you’ll see that construction has just started on a new Shark Exhibit that will be the first phase of the “World’s Largest Aquarium Complex” project that will take up a huge 60 acre site when complete. The park owner claims that it will take two years to complete the new shark exhibit, but given the park’s typical leisurely pace to complete other past construction projects, I’m guessing it wont open until 2009 myself. This is especially true when they announced the project back in 2003 claiming it would be complete in four years...
???? - World’s Largest Aquarium Complex - Planned - (5/22/07) Even though we heard that the ground was broken on the first phase of the World’s Largest Aquarium Project last year, a local reader sent us photos show an empty field where it should be. The funny part is that the whole complex was announced back in 2003 and was projected to take four years to complete at the time. Four years later, they haven’t even started yet. At least Marineland is consistent when it comes to taking their time to build projects on their own schedules. If they even opened anything on time, I think we would all be shocked, but at least they are building and not sitting stagnant.
(9/8/06) While groundbreaking has begun at last on the first phase (Sharks) of this project, there is no way to know when they will complete the other three domes that will contain a dolphin habitat, an ocean reef full of marine life and a rain forest lagoon with freshwater fish.
(9/26/05) Though it’s been two and a half years since we heard about this project, it seems that it is still in the “development” phase and none of the four domes have been completed yet. The park’s website does now show an image of the overall project and a list of the four domes and what will be inside when the 20 acre project is eventually complete. The first phase to begin construction will be the Terrors of the Sea dome that will be home to sharks, rays and other ocean creatures. Check out the official website for more details.
(1/22/03) The park has announced a large aquarium project that will take four years to complete that will work as both part of the overall park experience as well as a stand-alone attraction. It will feature four large connected domes that will contain different environments: Sharks, Dolphins, Freshwater and Tropical. This will be part of the larger River Country Development project. (Source: Amusement Business)