Thursday 12 July 2018 | 13

Shouka, the forgotten one

Shouka is the first orca to be born captive and to have survived in France. She was a friend and a big loving sister. Then, at the end of many trips to dolphinariums around the world and missed reunions with a male with whom she could have had children, she then suffered 10 years of isolation without other cetaceans of her kind! While waiting to finish her days without even having founded her own clan, she now socialises with the oldest of captive orcas.

Hr blog

Shouka is a 24-year-old female orca. She was the first orca to be born and to remain alive in France. Her mother was Sharkane and her father Kim 2.

She is forgotten to often, but she is one of five French captive orcas.

At the time of innocence, Shouka was raised by Sharkane who was still very much friends with Freya. When she was three years old, Freya gave birth to Valentin and the two children became extremely close by playing together. Her own mother gave her two more playmates, Inouk in 1999 and Wikie in 2001, whom she cared for lovingly as a big sister of orcas do.

With all the knowledge acquired from two females born at sea, Shouka would probably have made an excellent mother. Marineland's plans for her were different.

In 2002, after an endless flight, Shouka was first taken to Six Flags in Ohio, USA. She had to meet a "fiancé" named Kshamenk captured in Argentina, but he never arrived. In 2004, she was moved to California's Six Flags, where she had to stay alone for ten long years.

Ten years of isolation! Even American law forbids leaving a cetacean alone without someone of its own kind. Shouka received companion dolphins and had no more contact than with them and the trainers until the end of 2011. After the first attack, she was separated from the dolphin Merlin, then it was Cupid, another great dolphin assigned to keep her company which then also had to be removed from the pool following the rage of this poor orca. After a brief failed attempt to send her to Marineland Canada, it was decided that she would end her days at SeaWorld in California. She arrived there on August 20th2012 almost in emergency: solitude had made her violent and turned her insane to the point of attacking her trainer several times.

In spite of all her hardships, Shouka gradually managed to socialise again, thanks to the loving help of the oldest captive orcas in the world, Corky who is 50 years old.

On the other hand, the one who should have had two or three children at sea will remain alone forever. This is what parks call "conservation of an endangered species". Reproduction is now banned at SeaWorld, and that's good. Orcas should live free, in groups they have chosen!

Photo JerryFrausto - CC BY 2.0 - The photo has been modified to fit the format of the site.

Yvon Godefroid
Hr blog

In the subject

Open letter for the attention of Barbara Pompili
Ode to Orcas: young people speak out for the release of captive orcas

Comments 13

I accept that publication of my comments is subject to the code of conduct.

Jacqueline | Friday 13 July 2018

Qu'attend on pour la libérer au plus vite.

Anne | Thursday 12 July 2018

Certains "humains" sont vraiment cruels envers les animaux. J'espère qu'ils subiront les mêmes cruautés qu'ils font subir aux animaux.

Henner | Thursday 12 July 2018

que dire de plus ? Quelle inhumanité.

Clairev | Thursday 12 July 2018

?? bien triste tout ça