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Marineland transitioning to new ownership ahead of 2024 season

Marineland is transitioning to new ownership ahead of its 2024 season, the park has confirmed

In a statement to CTV News Toronto on Monday, a spokesperson for the Niagara Falls aquarium and amusement park said it was not yet under new ownership but that a transition is underway.

“As Marineland prepares for a strategic evolution and redevelopment plan that will occur under new ownership, the park will be focusing on core attractions and experiences this season, and offering guests a substantial discount on admission, to recognize decades of community support for Marineland and John and Marie Holer,” the statement read. Who dat?

“While Marineland now looks with promise to a new future, we thank our guests, employees, and community for their continuing support as we complete this necessary evolution,” it continued,

The facility opens for the season on June 28. After that, the park will operate seven days a week through Labour Day weekend.

Two months after the deaths of 14 whales and a dolphin at Marineland came to light, Ontario has refused to make public any steps taken to improve animal safety at the park, as critics demand action and transparency. A dolphin jumps out of the water as it performs during a show at Marineland amusement park in Niagara Falls, Ont., Friday, June 9, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

In the last five years, 17 whales, one dolphin, one harbour seal, one grey seal and two California sea lions have died at the facility, according to the province.

Three other belugas from Marineland also died after they were sold to Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut in 2021. Mystic said the two of those deaths were due to pre-existing conditions.

Since 2020, the park has been under investigation by Ontario’s Ministry of the Solicitor. The ministry has since declared the facility’s animals in distress due to poor water conditions.

In a statement released last month, following the deaths of two belugas, Marineland said independent necropsies confirmed the whales died from torsion, or an abnormal twisting of the stomach.

“All the whales are under constant weekly supervision and oversight by the government regulator and cared for daily by in-house vets and numerous external consultants,” the statement said.

“The reality is that all animals eventually die from one cause or another whether in the wild or captivity.”

Last month, Marineland was found guilty under the province’s animal cruelty laws over its care of three young black bears. The park kept three bears in cramped quarters with little access to water and no climbing structures. Sentencing in the matter is set for August. 

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