Valentin's body was too big to hide
Update: Responding to demands by animal protection organizations, including Friends of Animals, an inspection of Marineland by the Direction départementale de la protection des populations (DDPP, préfecture Alpes-Maritimes) hours ago, revealed hydrocarbon pollution in the orca tanks. The water analysis results contradict announcements by Marineland's public relations department, which insists that the "water is now clean and the filters are working."
Scrambling to do public relations damage control, the Groupe Parques Reunidos Europe fired Bernard Giampolo, its director of Marineland in Antibes, France today, following the controversial death of Valentin, a 19 year-old orca. Mr. Giampolo leaves his post at Marineland after nine years. Jesus Fernandez Moran, director of Parques Reunidos Europe, will take over as interim director of Marineland, Antibes on November 2.
Pressure from the animal protection movement is mounting on social media. A protest organized by Sans Voix PACA is scheduled for October 25 outside the troubled marine park.
The death of the orca on October 12 followed a severe storm October 4, which killed 20 people and devastated 90 percent of the marine park, leaving its basins flooded with mud and many of its animals dead. Valentin's death was explained in a communiqué issued by Marineland as caused by "intestinal torsion" unrelated to the storm. Several animal protection organizations, including Sea Shepherd, Friends of Animals and the Fondation Brigitte Bardot do not accept the explanation and are asking for an independent investigation as well as the immediate closing of the marine park, claiming the only information regarding the dead and surviving animals at Marineland is coming from the very people responsible for their welfare. Only certain journalists have been allowed inside the ravaged mud-filled marine park.