Posted by: Bonnie Anderson | July 25, 2011

U.S. and Canada Appear Ready for a Battle

There has been so much headline news in Orlando this summer that I almost missed a story involving a heated battle going on between parties in the U.S. and Canada.  How should these two countries handle transporting a killer across the border and why does Canada want to keep him?  These are big questions.  It’s a big dispute and involves a big character.  Put on your rain slicker, grab your umbrella and I’ll fill you in.

These two countries enjoy a wonderful relationship, but what we have here is a custody battle and that can get very ugly.  The stakes are huge – I mean huge.  The dispute is over a killer whale named Ikaika.  According to the Orlando Sentinel, Sea World Parks is trying to recover this male orca which they have on loan to Marineland in Ontario.  He was born in Orlando and was traded for four beluga whales.  Now we want him back.  (I’m sure by now his work VISA has expired anyway.)

This is pretty tricky – transporting this type of killer over the border requires diplomacy and a lot of large equipment.  We cannot just send a squad car to Canada to bring our boy home.  I have tried to picture a couple of cops putting him in the backseat of their car, being very careful that he does not bump his head.  But that won’t be necessary.  He’s not a fugitive.  I do have one question – since when does loaning something to someone mean that they can keep what is loaned?  Why is this so difficult?  Just give us back our whale and no one will get hurt.  Does Marineland really want splashy headlines of bad publicity?  I think not.

Talk to the hand, Marineland. We want our Orca back.



  1. Fascinating story! I used to live in Rochester and frequented Marineland every summer – who knew such intrigue was harbored in its depths!

  2. Ummm- isn’t that how our museums got their artwork from times past? Or, how they managed to acquire that art work sold by the Nazis and their minions when they never had clear title in the first place?
    Why would an Orca fare better?

    • I suppose an orca would not fare better, but it definitely is more challenging in a lot of ways. I had another comment that told more of the story than I had heard down here in Florida. It will be interesting to see what happens.

  3. This is a more complicated case than it appears. There was a second contract that gave Marineland in Ontario the right to keep the whale for life, on contingency that the animal is properly cared for. Now Sea World is stating that the animal was NOT properly cared for although nothing at the Canadian park has changed since the Orca arrived.

    The whale was also given for breeding purposes WITH the knowledge that an orca this young would not be breeding for an extended period of time. In the meantime, the orca has bonded with a femal orca in Marineland and would have to be ripped away from that relationship. (And let us not forget that the father of this young Orca is the one who killed 3 people including his trainer so were the young’un to return to Sea World, the possibility is good that he would be secluded and used as a sperm bank much like his father…)

    • These kind of things generally are more complicated than a short article in the paper make them appear. Thanks for the additional information. I did know who the father was, but I wasn’t sure that had much bearing on the situation. The other points definitely do. I would hate to see him secluded. It’s a tricky business for sure.

  4. “He was born in Orlando and was traded for four beluga whales.”

    Question – what happened to the belugas?

    Wouldn’t it be hard to trade back the 4 belugas… ?

    I have this dramatic scene in my mind:

    An exchange over the Peace Bridge… (between Buffalo & Niagara Falls) Early morning fog… the rumble of 18-wheelers with their precious cargo ready to go on either side. Border patrol police cars lining the way with their lights on, but sirens silenced…

    **On a serious note, though – it does sound like a complicated issue.**

    • Okay, Lori, I think you and I think enough alike that it’s a little scary. The article I read didn’t mention anything further about the belugas, perhaps because they are not as controversial as this orca, who is the offspring of the orca who killed a trainer at Sea World last year. I had a comment from another reader who gave more details from Marineland’s perspective. There are two sides here and it certainly is complicated indeed.

  5. Great post Bonnie, and the other comments were really interesting too. contract and loan agreements are never as easy as they appear on paper are they? Good to see the Bonnie humour still in there too xx

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