Six-year-old orca Morgan, who once swam free with her family pod, was never meant to spend her life in captivity.
Yet, a day in June 2010 changed her fate forever. It was at this time that Morgan was removed from her home off the coast of the Netherlands where she was found stranded and in poor health. She was then taken to the Dolfinarium Harderwijk to be nursed back to health. According to the Free Morgan Foundation, the marine park had received a permit to rescue her “on the condition she was released back to the ocean as soon as possible.”
Initially, it seemed that Morgan was poised for eventual release, however this thought faded as quickly as it had come once the marine park owners realized that they could profit off of her instead.
“Morgan was put ‘on show’ to the public within weeks of her ‘rescue,’” the Free Morgan Foundation reports.
After two years of “service” at Dolfinarium Harderwijk, Morgan was signed over to Loro Parque, a marine theme park in the Tenerife, Spain where a few SeaWorld whales are currently displayed “on loan.”
At Loro Parque, Morgan has been “brutally and continually attacked” and is often “subjected to excessive sexual pressure from a male orca who she is often locked into the same tank with,” as reported by orca expert Dr. Ingrid Visser of New Zealand’s Orca Research Trust and the Free Morgan foundation.
Animal lovers have long fought to overturn Morgan’s transfer to Loro Parque and when the Dutch Council of the State decided to review the decision, hope for her release was renewed.
“Returning the killer whale to the ocean, as proposed by the animal welfare groups in the Morgan Release Plan, was not deemed to be an ‘alternative, satisfactory solution’ because Morgan’s native pod had not been found and she belonged to a population with a highly complex social structure,” the court said.
With this decision, the court has committed Morgan to a life of imprisonment at the amusement park even though evidence existed about her native pod. What’s more, every orca pod has a “highly complex social structure,” and so this reason appears to be more of a cop out than anything else.
We are deeply saddened by the court’s verdict, however we mustn’t let the disappointment simmer for long – we have work to be done, animal lovers! There is still a long battle ahead for captive cetaceans and we must keep up the good fight for their sake.
Image Source: Free Morgan Foundation/Facebook