The worrying state of health of orcas Wikie and Keijo at Marineland Antibes

The worrying state of health of orcas Wikie and Keijo at Marineland Antibes


After having observed orcas Wikie and Keijo at Marineland Antibes, Dr Ingrid Visser has issued a warning about their health in a report.

Sub-dermal lesions, teeth worn right down, stereotypical behaviours… On 17 June 2023, marine biologist Ingrid Visser observed Wikie and Keijo in the pools at Marineland Antibes, revealing the very visible manifestations of their pitiful state of health. Her findings push us more than ever to request that these last four “French” orcas are placed in a sanctuary.

Photo: Wikie, Marineland, Antibes, June 2023. Orca Research Trust

In twenty-two years of existing, Wikie has lever left the Marineland establishment. She saw her young parents die, her adoptive mother, Freya, then her half-brother Valentin, with the shows in which she is forced to participate leaving her without the slightest bit of respite. Today, she has to share her shows with her brother Inouk and his sons Moana and Keijo. All of this to have the right to a few handfuls of dead fish.

In the chlorinated water prisons where they were born, it is impossible for them to swim without restraint, dive down deep, or feed freely. Stress and boredom condemn them to doing the same actions obsessively, leading them to the brink of madness. Who would dare to claim that Wikie and Keijo, born from incest between his mother and his uncle, are in good health, when we have seen them repeating the same circular swim endlessly or putting their heads out of the water with their mouth open and constantly rolling their tongue as only a nursing baby would do in the wild?

Their bodies worn away by captivity

Through stereotypical behaviours, the orcas end up being injured right down into their flesh. Specialists had already sounded the alarm in previous reports, notably for Moana, who Dr. Gallego had gone so far as to ask for urgent veterinary intervention for. This was in 2021. Since, nothing has been done to relieve the family from the suffering of captivity. Worse, while Ingrid Visser has just documented Wikie and Keijo’s subdermal lesions similar to Moana’s and concerning dental erosion, the four orcas risk being sent to Japan, where their exploitation will continue until they die from it. We will never abandon them to such a fate.

We are open to discussion with the Marineland and Parques Reunidos management, to whom we have written to see what it is possible to do as an alternative solution to what they seem to be preparing on their side, as well as to the Ministry of the Ecological Transition. We also invite the keepers to give us news about the orcas and dolphins because, if they go to a sanctuary, they will be the first concerned to help the animals that they look after.

So that they can retire and heal from their wounds, we ask that Wikie, Keijo, Moana, and Inouk are prepared to go to one of the marine sanctuaries being built, where they can finally be happy. Join us by signing our petition!

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Wikie, female orca


Translated from the French by Joely Justice