Sad news has been released today from Marineland Antibes in France: Captive orca Freya has died following "a long illness". The post announced (translated using Google Translate) that "After more than 32 years with [her] trainers and [her] group of orcas, the matriarch leaves today Wikie, Inouk, Valentin, Moana and Keijo all born the Park. The team [of] trainers, veterinarians and experts have devoted their efforts for several months to [help her] heal. They made sure she had no pain and in that time, Freya stayed with [her] social group. Analyses will be performed by a veterinary expert team, to know the cause of death. The findings will be published."
Freya was captured from Icelandic waters in 1982 at around 1 year of age and has been held in captivity ever since. Scientific research has estimated that, in the wild, female orca have an average lifespan of 50.2 years and can live as long as 80-90 years, possibly even longer. In captivity, orca life-expectancy is greatly reduced, with an overall median survival estimate of just 6.1 years. Freya died at around 32-33 years of age.
Freya's dorsal fin was partially collapsed and she had a white, round scar on her left-hand side that was a result of human action. During her time in captivity, Freya had four stillbirths. Her only surviving calf is a male named Valentin, born 1996, who still resides at Marineland Antibes. In the wild, male orca survival has been linked with the survival of their mothers.
Freya was the oldest member and matriarch of the Marineland Antibes orca. Freya was one of seven wild-caught Icelandic orca still alive in captivity, leaving only six remaining. She is now one of 48 wild-caught Icelandic individuals who have died in captivity.
Click on the image to enlarge - all photos © Orca Aware
Former SeaWorld & Marineland Antibes trainer John Hargrove talks about his time working with Freya in France
20/6/2015 03:25:55 pm
Why can't the whales stay in the oceans with their families???? Please, leave them in peace
20/6/2015 04:25:44 pm
I loved Freya and she was my most valuable relationship of all the whales in France, followed closely by her son Val. She was certainly the most dangerous of all the whales and after I had my fair share of aggressions with her in he water, we worked through those issues and she became an angel and I had the strongest relationship with her while I was there. For my I had to accept my loss of her years ago when I keft France and I treated it as a death. And even though I know trainers who are still in the industry do not agree with me speaking out and have a lot of anger toward me for it. My goal was to never be critical of trainers only the business. The trainers so love the whales and its a debestating loss when one of your friends dies. Freya's life was robbed of her by a greedy corporation who made millions off off her during her life in captivity. Now they can't do that to her any more, she is free. Freya I love and miss you and will treasure my memories of our relationship and working and swimming with you.
20/6/2015 05:28:06 pm
John Hargrove I am so sorry for your loss. Her suffering is over and the cruel captive cetacean industry can no longer exploit her. Hopefully this madness of imprisoning these animals will phase out soon. It's time to put an end to the suffering of orca for greed and profit. RIP Freya.
Else Jean Jensen
21/6/2015 03:24:26 am
It's completely irrelevant if or how much the trainers 'love' the orcas. They are guilty too. No trainers no show.
27/2/2022 11:47:44 pm
Neither the owners nor the trainers or I who eagerly desire to see them have clean hands.
Orca Aware Team
21/6/2015 02:16:23 pm
Thank you so much for sharing this with us John.
27/2/2022 11:45:34 pm
If orcas and humans could learn together without one and the other being captive in tanks or bars of our minds' design.
21/6/2015 02:38:54 pm
RIP Freya. There is no 'relationship' when one of them has no choice about being there.
21/6/2015 04:46:12 pm
I am sorry, John, for your loss. I am sorry that Freya had her life stolen from her by being kidnapped from her family as a baby in order to be held captive doing stupid tricks.
23/6/2015 05:54:27 pm
It is sad that she passed but for trainers it is better they care. Than somebody that does not. There will always be somebody willing to make a buck. Better that they care.
8/8/2015 04:19:57 am
died of a long illness????
5/10/2015 09:38:09 pm
That is very sad. Stop being trainers, stop paying to see it. Then nobody can make a profit off of lives stolen.
12/10/2015 05:33:12 pm
R.l.P Freya 😢💔😥
15/6/2016 01:19:59 am
Rescue, rehabilitate and release only sick and injured animals and only this will inspire the human spirit. Not capture and hold hostage!!!
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