Six Flags Brings Killer Whale To Ohio

AURORA, Ohio (AP) - A killer whale is back in Ohio at a park where the type of animal used to be a big attraction.

An orca came to the Six Flags Worlds of Adventure last week from Marineland in Antibes, France, the first at the Portage County park in northeast Ohio since Six Flags bought Sea World of Ohio and took over the park about 16 months ago.

The new whale, named Shouka, is one of just 48 orcas in captivity, half in the United States.

"She's doing beautifully," senior trainer Jessica Teranteau said Tuesday as the media met the new star attraction.

At 5,000 pounds and 9 years old, she's a young adult, sexually mature, who's only been around two male whales in her life, her father and brother.

She was loaned to the Ohio park hopefully to become a mother. Six Flags is seeking a male companion for Shouka from Argentina.

Animal welfare groups are trying to stop the park from importing a 10-year-old whale named Kshamenk from an Argentinian aquarium. While the National Marine Fisheries Service has given its permission for Six Flags to import Kshamenk, the orca's native country has not given approval.

The Humane Society of the United States and the Earth Island Institute of San Francisco say Kshamenk may have been acquired illegally under Argentinian law and that federal law prevents the United States from trafficking in wildlife that might have been obtained illegally.

Meanwhile, Shouka will begin to perform when she's comfortable in her new surroundings, perhaps in a couple of weeks.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)