Will Marineland, Antibes’ orca be sent to Japan?

Born Free calls on French President Macron to stop the transfer of three captive orca from France to Japan.  

Three orca line up at the edge of a pool, in front of three people in wetsuits

Captive orca at Marineland

Three captive orca currently held at Marineland, Antibes in France are reportedly due to be transferred to a newly constructed marine park in Japan any time soon – despite international condemnation. Born Free is opposed to the keeping of orca and other marine mammals in captivity and is urging supporters to sign a petition calling on French President Macron to intervene to stop this transfer.  

The welfare of the orca and dolphins at Marineland, Antibes has been a cause of concern for many years. Hopes were raised back in 2017, when it was announced that France would ban the breeding, exchange, and import of cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises), whilst improving the living conditions for the captive animals already in the country. This should have led to the phase out of captive cetaceans in France. However, the proposed breeding ban was sadly overturned less than a year later.

Thankfully, in 2021 the French Assembly adopted a new law that will end the commercial exploitation of cetaceans in France by 2026. However, instead of using this time to humanely phase out their captive orca and dolphins and, where possible, rehome the remaining animals to suitable ocean sanctuaries, Marineland have chosen to transfer their orca to Japan, where they would continue to be exploited in the name of entertainment.

Born Free is a founding member of Dolphinaria-Free Europe (DFE), a coalition of NGOs and individuals working together to end the captivity of whales, dolphins, and porpoises across Europe. DFE has supported its French member organisation ‘One Voice’ in their campaign to raise awareness about the welfare of orca and dolphins at Marineland, and to prevent the transfer of these orca to Japan.  

Originally, four orca were identified for export, one of whom, an adolescent male called Moana, was reported to have died in October 2023. Sadly, One Voice was not given the opportunity to present their extensive evidence about the health and welfare of Marineland’s remaining orca Inouk, Wikie and Keijo, to the French court. Instead, alternative ‘experts’ were consulted who were in favour of transfer to Japan, seemingly with the support of the French authorities.

You can help by signing the petition calling on French President Macron to intervene to stop the transfer of Marineland’s three orca to Japan, and instead to try to find suitable sanctuary facilities that can take the animals. 

Sign the Petition Today