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What is the 'Save Smooshi' campaign that Miesha Tate mentioned in her post-fight interview at UFC Vegas 31?

Image credits: @CBC via Twitter
Image credits: @CBC via Twitter
SENIOR ANALYST

Save Smooshi is a campaign orchestrated by Phil Demers, a former employee of the Marineland Zoo and amusement park. It seeks protection for a walrus named Smooshi, who had a special relationship with Demers.

Former UFC women's bantamweight champion Miesha Tate shed light on the Save Smooshi campaign during her post-fight interview at UFC Vegas 31. However, many fans were left puzzled regarding what Tate was referring to.

With that said, let's take a look at Smooshi's story in chronological order.

Demers was introduced to Smooshi for the first time in 2004. The 200-pound walrus was transported to Marineland from Russia in a poor condition.

For Smooshi, Demers was nothing but a childminder. He took good care of her and the walrus-human duo developed a strong bond, as seen in the videos below:

In 2008, Demers and Smooshi attracted media attention. Their stories were covered by a lot of Canadian and other international news outlets.

A few years later, Smooshi was the center of attention once again when Demers left Marineland after the zoo authorities allegedly mistreated their animals. He was the first whistleblower to speak out on the alleged atrocities.

In 2013, Marineland filed a $1.5 million strategic public participation (SLAPP) lawsuit against Demers, accusing him of trespassing on their property and scheming to steal Smooshi, which birthed the Save Smooshi campaign.

Demers, however, denied the claims. He has since diligently raised concerns regarding the safety of animals at Marineland. In 2019, the famous Canadian zoo sent police to Demers' house after he joked about "stealing a walrus."

For the past nine years, Demers' legal battle with Marineland has continued. He has also set up a GoFundMe page for the Save Smooshi campaign, which you can access here.

Save Smooshi campaign set to receive a boost

On July 17, 2021, a Canadian digital streaming platform called CBC Gem announced that they will stream a documentary called 'The Walrus and the Whistleblower' to enlighten people about the Save Smooshi campaign.

The documentary features Phil Demers and other activists who blew the whistle on alleged mistreatment of animals at Marineland.

In a blog post that Demers wrote for The Huffington Post Canada, he reflected on the importance of the Save Smooshi campaign.

"I need to be reunited with Smooshi the walrus. Her health concerns me, and the quality of her life is greatly negotiated in my absence. She needs me as much as I need her. Her vulnerability humbles me, and she makes me a better human being. She has offered me so many amazing experiences and opportunities, and I value her life as I do the lives of my very own family."

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Edited by Harvey Leonard
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