The park released an online statement to announce the young animal's death, citing the cause as “a congenital torsion of her small intestine that caused it to twist and resulted in a full blockage of the intestine,” and added that the young animal's mother had stopped nursing her:
Her mother stopped nursing her prior to Gia getting a taste for fish. In the wild, this would have certainly led to her death when it happened, but at Marineland, her dedicated care team segregated her from the other whales and worked with her eighteen hours each day for an extended period of time to develop proper eating habits.
However,Hayden Hunter, director of investigations forLast Chance for Animals(LCA), which has conducted inquiries the park multiple times for mistreatment of animals, claims:
Contrary to what Marineland’s statement reveals, her mother didn’t actually stop nursing her. Gia was removed from the pod and placed into another pool with two other whales. She was weaned by choice of the Marineland staff.
Taken away from her mother too soon, the whale became weaker and soon looked emaciated. Photos of the animal with a protruding backbone and ribs show the extent to which she was starving.Gia spent three months in a small and shallow isolated pool while she wasted away.A necropsy has been carried out on the Beluga whale but the full results are as of yet unpublished.
Philip Demers, a former trainer at Marineland who retired in 2012 after seeing the shocking treatment of animals at the park, namely Zeus, an emaciated walrus. Photos of the animal emerged last year to a horrified public, launching one of the LCA's inquiries into the center.Demers claims that the cause of death cited by Marineland seems convenient and improbable:
They use that one all the time. It’s a rare thing that animals die of. But somehow, at Marineland, it conveniently happens all the time.
The Ontario SPCA (OSPCA) brought five charges against Marineland for their mistreatment of animals, but sadly these were dismissed by the Canadian government, leaving the organization extremely disappointed for the well-being of the animals.However, Demers is determined to get justice for these animals and is planning on launching a law suit against the owners of Marineland. To support him in his fight you can make a donation to his legal fees by clicking here.
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