John Holer: the man behind 'Mass Graveland'


Most people have heard of Marineland Canada, but not many people know about the man running the show. John Holer came to Canada with a background working in a travelling circus where he learned to train bears and other animals to do demeaning tricks, so it’s not surprising that Marineand is what it is today.

Since day one, MarineLand has been built on the backs of exploited animals, and that hasn’t changed. Over the years, Holer has gained himself a reputation for being extremely cheap, insensitive to the suffering of people and animals, vindictive, aggressive, and surely someone who should not be in charge of the physical/mental health of ANY animal.

Some of the most shocking scandals and allegations surrounding the man in charge of Marineland include:

-In 1977 John Holer was charged with illegally importing dolphins into the United States after stopping for fuel in Texas. Holer was fined $10,000.

-In 1983 the Ontario Ministry of the Environment laid charges against Holer and Marineland for running an illegal toxic waste dump. Marineland pleaded guilty to 44 charges under the environmental protection act and was fined $15,000.

-In 1992 John Holer was charged by the Lincoln County Humane Society with animal cruelty for failing to provide suitable and adequate care for a newborn deer. The judge later dismissed this charged based on the technicality that Marineland Inc. should have been charged instead of its hands on owner, John Holer.

-In 1996 Holer was charged with careless driving after allegedly striking a protester with his truck as she leafleted outside Marineland. The protester was transported to a hospital by ambulance with injuries described by police as “very minor.” Holer was acquitted of the careless driving charge in July 1997.

-In 1999 the 65 year old brother of John Holer, Stanislav Holer was charged with sexually assaulting a 16 year old female Marineland employee.

-In 2009 John Holer & Marineland served eviction notices to 47 families of the Green Oaks trailer park. Holer had purchased the land 5 years earlier and claimed he wanted to build maintenance facilities on the land previously giving no indication of his intentions and allowing new residents to buy homes there. Facing total loss of their homes and equity residents appealed to the city and the Landlord & Tenant Board. Holer drove through the park on a daily basis harassing the tenants. Former business partner of Holer and then Mayor of Niagara Falls Ted Salci refused to invoke an existing city bylaw to help the residents and despite evidence to in their favour the L&T Board ruled against them. On the day of eviction in 2011 long time resident Paula Millard committed suicide in her home. To this day the small 6 acre area remains empty and unused.

-In 2010 SeaWorld served Holer notice that they were terminating a longstanding breeding agreement between the two parks because they were concerned for the well being of their orca Ikaika if it remained at Marineland. Holer and Marineland refused to hand over the killer whale and was taken to court by SeaWorld eventually losing the case and appeal.

-In 2012 Marineland was the subject of an extensive investigation by the Toronto Star exposing animal abuse and neglect at the park. Inspections and orders from various regulatory agencies were initiated and there was widespread public condemnation and the biggest protests in the park’s history.

-In late 2012 the Ontario Ministry of the Environment discovered Marineland was burying thousands of dead animals illegally on the property and ordered them to stop.

-In 2013 Marineland began launching SLAPP lawsuits against virtually anyone who opposed them.  By mid 2013 they had multi-million dollar lawsuits against 3 former employees, 2 activists and the Toronto Star newspaper.

-In 2013 Holer was videotaped threatening another protester outside the park. He threatened to “stab and bury” the individual handing out leaflets. Police investigated and despite the threat being captured on video no charges were laid.

-2013 Marineland issued permit by the Ontario Ministry of Environment to resume burying dead animals on the property.


Marineland august 16, 2014: the water was disgusting in all the tanks. There was a heavy smell of chlorine in Kiska’s tank, the stadium tank and inside the aquarium. The seals all had their eyes tightly closed. Also Kiska’s tank was emanating a smell of fecal matter near the one side where the filter and vent was. The deers were heartbreaking. Apparently scraping their antlers is normal but usually done on trees. There are no trees in their area. Blood was getting every where and no one cared. Parents were letting their small children walk right through the fresh blood and touch the deer while he was scraping. It may be natural but it can’t be sanitary. Kiska has given up. You can see into her eyes. Echo the dolphin had take marks all over her. And one dolphin looked spotty. But can’t be sure. Couldn’t get close enough. No Smooshi in the show. We had Apollo instead. So many Belugas. There were 20 in one tank at Arctic Cove. The other side had mothers and babies. Plus one looked pregnant. There were about 4 babies. One looked about a week old.

22. Kiska

She is known in the media as the “World’s Loneliest Orca.” Kiska swims in total isolation in a barren fiberglass tank in Canada. Keeping a killer whale in solitary isolation is  illegal in the United States. A former Marineland trainer who worked primarily with Kiska reported to the Toronto Star that the lonely orca is suffering from medical conditions and has an untreated injury that causes her to bleed intermittently from her tail fluke.  Since Kiska has lost all her calves and closest companion, she is often seen logging listlessly at the surface of the water but continues vocalizing. On May 31, animal activists lined the road to Marineland silently protesting Kiska’s devastating living conditions. 


(don’t worry, we’ll be back to your regularly scheduled ninja turtles programming soon)

(also sorry about the picture quality, i haven’t had a working scanner in awhile :()

Recently I’ve been reading extensively about Marineland Canada, a place I used to really enjoy visiting and whose animals are dear to my heart (Ontarians all know the “Everyone Loves Marineland” ear worm commercial!). Recently, after a lot of a research (and not being 13 any more) my stance on whale and dolphin captivity has changed significantly, where I no longer support it and don’t believe these animals, with all their self-awareness and smarts, do well there at all.

Marineland’s a prime example because Marineland, it turns out, is a literal whale death trap.

Read More

Talk of Kiska was all over the place here a few months ago, why has it all gone quiet when it appears her health is still an apparent concern? Sat twiddling thumbs thinking ‘well there’s not much I can do…’

Well there is!
For on, simple SHARE THIS, tumblr, twitter facebook (fins and flukes link there if people prefer to share than make there own post) Keep people aware! hell make your own posts!
2. Email/Phone/Tweet/ Fax (if you still have one)  the Ontario Ministry of Community Saftey & Correctional Services (OSPCA) 

Why should you contact OSPCA?
The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act states:
Standards of care for captive wildlife
4. (1) Wildlife kept in captivity must be provided with adequate and appropriate care, facilities and services to ensure their safety and general welfare as more specifically set out in subsections (2) and (3) of this section and in sections 5 and 6.
(2) Wildlife kept in captivity must be provided with a daily routine that facilitates and stimulates natural movement and behaviour.
(3) Wildlife kept in captivity must be kept in compatible social groups to ensure the general welfare of the individual animals and of the group and to ensure that each animal in the group is not at risk of injury or undue stress from dominant animals of the same or a different species.

Please use this link  to ask the Minister what he intends to do for Kiska and animals in similar situations as well.

Phone Numbers to use
Contact the MCS&CS: (416)-326-5000 or call Toll free: 1-866-517-0571

Fax Numbers

Fins and Fluke sorted out an event previously with sample emails and tweets you can use if you are not so great with words.  

Sample Email

Here is the sample e-mail fins and fluke created that they say you are welcome to use to contact the Minister on their website (or use when making a phone call).

My feedback Concerns: choose “Question for the Minister” and select the same below.

Dear Minister Yasir Naqvi,

As Minister of the department responsible for overseeing the OSPCA I am deeply concerned about the well-being of Kiska, a killer whale residing at Marineland, Canada. According to the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act Marineland should be providing the orca with stimulation as stated in section 4(2), “Wildlife kept in captivity must be provided with a daily routine that facilitates and stimulates natural movement and behavior”. Kiska is also living in her tank completely alone with no companion. Section 4(3) states, “Wildlife kept in captivity must be kept in compatible social groups to ensure the general welfare of the individual animals and of the group and to ensure that each animal in the group is not at risk of injury or undue stress from dominant animals of the same or a different species”. I am aware that the OSPCA continue to conduct investigations at the facility but they are not enforcing the standards of care in favor of the wellbeing of this animal. Please step in and take action and ask the OSPCA to administer the standards of care for Canada’s last captive orca, Kiska before it’s too late.

Thank you for your time,

*Your name*

Sample Tweets
@Yasir_Naqvi Please encourage the OSPCA to enforce their standards of care for captive #blackfish #kiska at #MarinelandCanada 

@Yasir_Naqvi #Kiska the captive Killer Whale at #MarinelandCanada has no stimulation or enrichment program. Please step in & take action!

@Yasir_Naqvi #Kiska the captive #orca floats all day at @MarinelandCan with no companion. Please enforce the standards of care urgently

Still twiddling your thumbs? I Hope Not!

Meet Kiska, Canada’s only captive whale!

In the picture above is Kiska, who is the only captive orca in Canada. Something sound wrong? Yes. She is only orca, therefore she is alone.Orcas are extremely social animals and family-oriented, they depend on social interaction as a way to stay healthy & happy. But Kiska is alone in her concrete tank & has been for almost 4 years.

Kiska was snatched (& snatched is an understatement) from her family in 1979 when she was just 3 years old. She was sold to Marineland Ontario, and has lived there for the past 36 years. While in captivity, Kiska had 5 calves over the years, which all died before the age of 7. Kiska had to witness all of her calves die. The causes vary, but overall it all points to improper care on Marineland’s part.

Kiska and her last companion, Ikaika, were often separated because he would harass her. In 2011, Ikaika was moved to SeaWorld in San Diego because of a custody battle concerning the improper conditions of the facility.  

Kiska now lives alone, and has for almost 4 years.She lives in the same improper conditions that Ikaika was taken from. Although Kiska is retired from performing stupid tricks everyday, she now floats lifelessly in her tank with almost no stimulation. Her blowhole has a condition named "peanut head" (x) which is most likely caused my her being underweight. Another concern is her lack of teeth (x), which is quite painful for her. It’s caused my primarily boredom and drilling. Kiska floats in the back of Friendship cove and is occasionally “let out” to a underwater viewing area for 20 minutes. 

Kiska lives a sad, lonely life. It’s a wonder she has survived for this long. I don’t want Kiska to die in this concrete fishbowl where she spent most of her life. 

Please, please, sign this petition (x) to release Kiska to a sea pen, or a more appropriate facility & dont buy a ticket.

This breaks my heart, I don’t want to see anymore cetaceans live this life. Let’s end captivity. Until all the tanks are empty.

OSPCA claims they saw "no issues" during their inspections of Marineland. Does this look like a non-issue to you?






How can you help?
Contact the OSPCA demanding Marineland be held to a higher standard. Express your concern for the wellbeing of not just these walruses, but all of the animals being held at Marineland. We can never give up; these animals are in pain and are constantly being ignored!