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Smooshi and Phil: The Saga Continues, with a LOT less cuteness

Smooshi and Phil

I can’t in good conscience re-start blogging to the Walrus Web without making the first post about the drama that has sprung up around “celebrity” walrus trainer and friend-of-this-blog Phil Demers and his beloved walrus Smooshi.

We’ve written about Smooshi and Phil before, in this post: Wipeout Canada – The Walrus Connection

However, since then, things have taken a darker turn. Phil and Smooshi are now separated, lawyers are involved, Smooshi and her fellow Marineland animals are allegedly living in poor, or even neglected conditions and there are real concerns that Phil may never be able to see Smooshi again. One can only image what Smooshi must think! The poor walrus must be so confused, wondering why her favorite friend is not around anymore.

This video, of Smooshi calling for Phil, is profoundly sad: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQIuVCp_nSQ

If you don’t know the story of Smooshi and Phil – you should watch one of the many videos on Youtube, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79um9mr-7TU

The US barely pays attention to the existence of Canada, much less Canadian animal mistreatment complaints, but the Canadian media has been picking up this story, starting with this piece in the Star http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2012/08/15/m

But then one day the Huffington Post picked up the story: “Why I Left Marineland and My Beloved Walrus Smooshi”

Since this story ran, the noise level has amped up, helped out by Phil’s constant presence on Twitter and the assistance of many many re-tweeters, Facebook friends and social media contacts all over the world.

Of course, Marineland is not taking this lying down, and has sued both Phil and another trainer, Christine Santos – the former trainer of Kiska the killer whale, a story with just as much urgency as Smooshi’s.

An indiegogo campaign was started to raise money for a legal defense fund. Thanks to the media attention – it’s been successful. Here is a link to the online petition that has already garnered over 80,000 signatures.
https://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/save-marineland-s-animals

In the interest of being somewhat objective, Marineland’s side of this story is outlined on their press release page: http://www.marineland.ca/general/media_releases/

Like many of you, I enjoy the experience of getting close to animals in zoos and theme parks – and especially in the wild! I know that many people object to animals such as whales, walrus, dolphins and elephants being used as performers. I have conflicted feelings on this myself. But whatever your feelings, I hope we can all agree that if an animal is to be kept in captivity, especially if the animal is a performer or display animal, then it should be afforded the best possible quality of life and compassionate care within surroundings as close as possible to the natural habitat of the animal. I would feel horrible to find that the animals and experience that I and my family had enjoyed were experiencing the type of conditions and mistreatment that the former Marineland trainers allege.

I like Phil, he and I have exchanged several emails since I started this blog and I’ve followed him on Twitter for some time. I have no reason to believe he would lie about the conditions Smooshi is experiencing, so I can only hope he is successful in his campaign to bring more oversight and compassionate treatment to the animals at Marineland.

Please follow Phil on Twitter @walruswhisperer and hope that he will prevail in his efforts to make sure Smooshi and all animals at Marineland get the caring treatment we all assume that the animals we enjoy at these parks receive.

And with that – the Walrus Web is back in action. We’ll keep you posted!

Walrus Pic of the Day: Smooshi wins Movember!

Movember is a charity event that involves growing mustaches for charity. Walrus trainer, Wipeout Canada champion and friend of the World Wide Walrus Web Phil Demers posted this picture of Smooshi on Twitter. Smooshi wins!

Follow Phil on Twitter: @walruswhisperer

More info about Smooshi and Phil is here.

Wipeout Canada: The Walrus Connection!

One of my Twitter followers, friend of the blog @Walruswhisperer (Phil Demers) WON the first running of the course on the Canadian version of Wipeout which aired in Canada last night! Big bucks and serious bragging rights!

Here’s where this post is going to get kind of long… First of all, Phil had contacted me on Twitter (@walrusweb) to make me aware of his incredible walrus story (details below and in a future post), so I was extra-amused when he tweeted that he’d be on Wipeout – since aside from Walruses, Wipeout is one of my favorite things-that-no-one-understands-my-love-of. I can NOT get enough of people doing amazing faceplants and flying through the air while trying to get through that course. Don’t get me started.

This is not the only time in my recent life that walruses and Wipeout have come together. Since it’s my blog, I’ll tell this brief story. But first I have to make a confession. I’m a TV talker. I cannot watch a TV show such as Wipeout without talking to the screen, or in the case of Wipeout, loudly saying “OOOOF!” or “Right in the FACE!” while watching the show. I can’t help it, it’s reflex. I am the laughing stock of the house, and certain of the family will not watch TV with me because of this. So anyway, my girlfriend and I recently got involved in a contest (as in the Seinfeld episode, but not related to, well… you know) with the various kids of the house. The contest went like this: each person would have one thing selected for them that they would have to give up. Things like Justin Beiber, texting, or talking during TV shows. All the kids assumed I’d be the first one out, and they came up with a plan to break me immediately. Yes – I got home to find YouTube via the PS3 hooked up to the big TV with Wipeout’s funniest wipeouts and other clips cued up. They though they had me, but I was strong. I managed to watch several clips without uttering an OOF or so much as an “oh MAN!” when someone got clocked in the FACE by that one obstacle, or flew off of the red balls flailing into the water… I was cold as ice. Nothing. I had won. Then I mentioned that there was this one walrus video they should check out and we ended up watch random Youtube walrus videos. There was with one video where this guy was talking about the HUGE walrus! Wow! Look at that WALRUS! and I immediately broke down. “That’s a sea lion you idiot!” I yelled at the screen. And just like that I was out. Like Phil – I had survived Wipeout, only to be brought down by some hodad who doesn’t know his pinnipeds.

Congrats Phil! Especially if you held on long enough to read this entire post!

Here’s a link to the brief piece about Phil’s win in the Niagra Falls Review.

Here’s Phil’s Wipeout audition tape from YouTube:

Here’s a link to Wipeout Canada’s website, but be warned – I don’t think anyone outside Canada can see this video. I can’t anyway – I’ve tried on a few browsers, so I suspect it’s Canada only..

I will be posting more about Phil shortly – if you think his story sounds familiar, it’s likely you’ve heard of his unusual relationship with Smooshi the Walrus! If you haven’t – watch this next vid and prepare to be amazed.

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