Former Marineland of Canada animal trainer Phil Demers worked at Marineland Ontario for 12 years.

Former Marineland trainer Phil Demers with pacific walrus Smooshi.

    He was one of eight initial whistleblowers—since grown in number to 15—who told the Toronto Star newspaper last August that poor water conditions at the park had caused blindness and other health problems among seals, sea lions and dolphins.

    After speaking out, Demers and fellow-trainer Christine Santos were sued by Marineland owner John Holer for $1.5 million for voicing their concerns for the animals’ well-being.

    In a recent interview Demers describes conditions at Marineland that are essentially torturing the park’s animals.

    Sea lion Baker has no lens in his left eye. He had to be pulled repeatedly from the water and confined in a dry cage, in one case for more than two months, to limit further harm to his already damaged eyes.

    Larry, the harbor seal arrived at Marineland about eight years ago and is now a shadow of his former self. After repeated exposure to unhealthy water, he has gone blind.

    February 2012 photo shows sea lions Sandy and Baker (left). The pair had to be pulled repeatedly from the water and confined in dry cages, in one case for more than two months, to limit further harm to their already damaged eyes. Videos shot in 2011 and 2012 show them writhing in pain or plunging their heads into a single bucket of clean water.

    Sonja, a female walrus show in an April 2012 photo, has suffered eye damage that former trainers blame on poor water conditions at Marineland.


    To follow the story and contribute to the cause of Devers and the other whistlblowers, go to the indiegogo/marineland site, and follow him on twitter @walruswhisperer.

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