While SeaWorld recently made the incredible announcement that it will no longer breed its orca whales in captivity, concerns are growing over the fate of its wild-born orca, Morgan, who is on loan at Loro Parque, a marine park tourist attraction, on the Spanish island of Tenerife.
Morgan was captured off the Dutch coast in 2010 when she was found in a severely weakened state, and was nursed back to health at the Dolphinarium in Harderwijk, the Netherlands. Although she was brought into the Dutch facility on a “capture, rehabilitation and release” permit, she was then transported to Loro Parque, where she has remained. The Dutch council ruled that without her mother, she would not be able to find food for herself and, therefore, could not survive in the wild. However, Morgan is no longer a baby calf, and activists say that life in captivity is driving her mad. Campaigners including the Free Morgan Foundation and The Born Free Foundation are calling for the orca to be released to a sea pen as she has been terrorized by other orcas while in captivity and shows “evidence of self mutilation, caused by repeatedly banging her head.”
In a short film, called “I am Morgan – Stolen Freedom,” director Heiko Grimm explains that Morgan was considered valuable as she potentially introduced a new blood line to widely in-bred orcas, but since SeaWorld will no longer breed its killer whales in captivity, activists are now stepping up their call to retire Morgan to a sea pen, and fulfill the “release” portion of the original intent of her capture.
Morgan’s family has been located in the wild and activists say she could be a successful release candidate. If you’d like to help, The Free Morgan Foundation has put forward a variety of suggestions including writing letters to Hinderk “Henk” Bleker the State Secretary for the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation asking for her release.
The most important thing you can do for marine animals is to not support their captivity. Without patrons supporting orca shows, these facilities can not exist. You can also lend your name to this Change.org petition. Above all share this article and encourage others to speak up for Morgan!
Featured image source: AFP