Airdate: The Walrus and the Whistleblower

Animal rights feature film on iwonder documents a campaign to free a walrus from MarineLand.

Animal rights feature film The Walrus and the Whistleblower, which documents a campaign to free a walrus from MarineLand in Niagara Falls, Canada will screen on iwonder next week.

The film is described as a “heart-wrenching David and Goliath battle, as a former animal trainer turned whistleblower takes on an iconic marine amusement park in an attempt to free a walrus named Smooshi from alleged neglect and abuse.”

It was voted 2020 Hot Docs Audience Award winning film.

iwonder CEO, James Bridges, says of the film: “Tender and touching, The Walrus and the Whistleblower is a moving testament to the powerful bonds humans form with animals and the passion and conviction with which many are compelled to defend their rights and liberties. As Phil’s fight with MarineLand goes on, iwonder is proud to shine a light on the issues raised in this unusual and compelling love story.”

Phil Demers was an animal trainer at the iconic MarineLand in Niagara Falls, Canada, for over a decade, training and performing with killer whales and dolphins for thousands of visitors each day. When the park acquired a baby walrus, the vulnerable animal forged a powerful bond with Phil that saw the two become inseparable.

After leaving MarineLand under a cloud after a failing relationship with its founder and owner, in an attempt to liberate his beloved walrus, Phil turned whisteblower, embarking on a mission to expose his claims of cruel and abusive practices that he alleges have been going on behind the scenes of the amusement park for decades.

The #savesmooshi campaign was born, catapulting Phil Demers to national and international fame and serving as a lightning rod around which animal rights activists focused their protests against MarineLand and the practice of keeping marine animals in captivity.

Eight years later, Phil remains embroiled in a $1.5 million dollar lawsuit brought against him by MarineLand. Supported in his legal battle by his legions of social media followers and a GoFundMe campaign which has raised over $200,000 in legal fees support, his hope that he’ll one day be reunited with Smooshi, keeps his hopes of victory and justice alive.

Thursday 13th May on iwonder.

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