AN ORCA has died after spending his entire life in captivity at a theme park in France, sparking furious backlash from critics.
Moana, 12, died just days ago as the park said it is investigating his cause of death which is currently unknown.
Moana, 12, died just days ago after spending his entire life in captivity (a Marineland trainer pictured with one of their orcas)
Marineland d’Antibes said in an online statement: “This loss is extremely painful for all the zoo teams, for the keepers who have built such a bond with Moana and for all those who love Marineland.
“Moana marked our history and will be greatly missed; he will forever remain in the heart of our teams.”
Animal rights groups have slammed the French park for housing the orcas in “poor conditions”.
“Moana was made to perform for over a decade before his health declined and he died.”
They also claimed that French animal rights group One Voice had asked Marineland to give both Moana and his brother health checks just weeks before his death.
The 12-year-old orca was born in captivity and spent his entire life in the French Riviera park, with his mother, his uncle and his half-brother.
His father was captured in 1980 and sent to a zoo in Spain before being moved to SeaWorld in San Diego.
Another French animal rights group said they’ve been investigating the park for years, following the “worrying, declining state of the pools”.
OneVoice also said it had filed a complaint just two years ago about Moana’s “poor health”.
They said: “We have been right from the start, and this gives us no satisfaction: Moana was in danger.
“He was wasting away, his skin, the sudden collapse of his dorsal fin, his stereotyped behavior and the state of his teeth … all expressing his distress. It was nothing more than a cry for help.”
International nonprofit The Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) slammed the facility as being in “poor condition”.
Just days before Moana died on October 17, WDC claimed that their requests for an investigation into the welfare of Marineland’s orcas had been legally enforced.
Independent experts reportedly found “deep skin injuries” on Moana, “poor dental health” in his uncle, and behavioural issues with all the orcas kept there.