Section 3.109 of the Animal Welfare Act states that marine mammals, whenever known to be primarily social in the wild, must be housed in their primary enclosure with at least one compatible animal of the same or biologically related species. For over 9 months, Shouka, the killer whale living at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, CA has been alone without the companionship of another compatible animal. Merlin and Cupid, the two male bottlenose dolphins Shouka was housed with for many years were moved to another area of the park leaving Shouka alone.
Killer whales are one of the most social beings on this planet. They form tightly knit family groups whom with they live out their entire lives with. It is cruel, inhumane and against the law for Six Flags Discovery Kingdom to not provide a companion for Shouka and it is the duty of APHIS to enforce the Animal Welfare Act.
Shouka was born in captivity at Marineland in Antibes, France in 1993. For the first 9 years of her life, she lived with both her parents, other orcas and her siblings. In 2002, Shouka was importing to the U.S. under the care of Six Flags World of Adventure in Ohio. The intention of Six Flags was to import a wild caught male orca named Kshamenk who resides at Mundo Marino in Argentina. Due to the actions of several non-profit organizations and the law of Argentina, Kshamenk's import was denied by the Argentine government.
For the last 10 years, Shouka's companions have been a few bottlenose dolphins. Her companion of 7 years, Merlin, a male bottlenose dolphin was removed from her enclosure and placed in another area of the park with other bottlenose dolphins. Shouka has been alone since November 2011.
If Six Flags cannot properly care for Shouka and abide by the law, Shouka should not be in their possession and should be returned to her family in France.