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Canadian zoo association gives Marineland passing grade

Coral and her trainer Nic Hayne, at Marineland in Niagara Falls.

Credits: MIKE DIBATTISTA/NIAGARA FALLS REVIEW/QMI AGENCY

ALISON LANGLEY | QMI AGENCY

NIAGARA FALLS, ON -- A national agency that oversees the care of animals in captivity says Marineland's lone killer whale is in good health.

The Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) conducted an unannounced inspection at the Niagara Falls theme park Nov. 27 to assess several areas, including the health of Kiska.

The female killer whale has been alone in a tank since November 2011 after Marineland was forced to return its male orca, Ikaika, to SeaWorld San Diego.

Former Marineland trainer Christine Santos told Toronto media in October that Kiska was bleeding sporadically from her tail.

In a CAZA accreditation report completed Nov. 29 and obtained by QMI Agency, the agency's business manager Greg Tarry said he reviewed copies of Kiska's medical records for November and was also given copies of the daily observation sheets completed by staff.

"This animal appears to be in good health and is eating a full ration," Tarry wrote, adding there were no signs of bleeding or injury. "It is my opinion that there is no cause for concern on the part of the (CAZA) commission regarding the health of the animal at this time."

According to the report, Marineland staff and management were "open and candid in their comments and provided any and all information and assistance requested" during the inspection.

"There were no concerns identified during the inspection that the commission need react to at this time," Tarry wrote.

The inspection also included a water assessment.

"All of the water was clear and clean, there were no problems with colour or odour of the water in any of the areas," the report states. "In addition, none of the animals in the water appeared to be experiencing any discomfort as a result of being in the pools. "

Tarry said none of the animals were under treatment for any non-chronic medical treatments at the time of the inspection.

"The older sea lions were receiving pain medications to address long-standing eye issues that had been identified as primarily age related. The eyes of the walrus, which had been identified as problems in the past, in all cases appeared to be normal."

CAZA, funded by its membership of accredited facilities including Marineland, sent three inspectors to the park Aug. 23 and found the marine mammals to be in good health.

A second inspection conducted Sept. 27 yielded similar results.

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