A legal dispute ends in a big win for San Diego’s SeaWorld: a new male orca whale.
On Sunday, Ikaika -- or “Ike”— made the long trip from Ontario to Southern California. The 9-year-old killer whale comes back to the SeaWorld corporation after five years in a breeding exchange program with Canadian park Marineland.
In 2006, SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment loaned Ike to Marineland in Ontario in exchange for four beluga whales.
However, SeaWorld’s operation in Orlando says it became concerned about the animal’s welfare. It later requested that Marineland return Ike.
SeaWorld took the issue to court, where the verdict was ruled in its favor. Ike was ordered back to SeaWorld and assigned to the San Diego park, one year after San Diego lost one of its male orcas.
Ike’s transfer from Canada was quite an operation. It required a padded unit filled with thousands of gallons of water, a SeaWorld veterinarian, a trainer, an animal care specialist, a cargo plane and a flatbed truck.
The whale is now getting used to his new surroundings and finishing health assessments.