I am sure most of you know about Orca Morgan. In case some of you don’t, allow me to fill you in! Morgan, a young female orca, was found alone and starving in the Waddenzee in June 2010. For over a year she has been living in a small, barren tank at the Dolphinarium Harderwijk, put on public display.
It was revealed in recent months that the Dutch Goverment was considering selling Morgan into a life of captivity at the Spanish zoo/theme park, Loro Parque. Orca lovers and activists around the world collaborated for Morgan’s rehabilitation and release. Some programs like the Free Morgan Foundation (http://www.freemorgan.org/) have even raised money to set her free.
One of the concerns about freeing Morgan was that her family hadn’t been located. Fortunatly, scientists later connected Morgan’s calls with that of another local pod. It was a 99% match. With her family found, activists for her release became very optimistic about Morgan’s sure survival in the wild ocean.
When I learned of this and gathered more information, I sent an email to Mr. Henk Bleker, a Dutch politician on October 1,2011. Urging him to reconsider his judgement on sending Morgan to a Spanish zoo/amusement park.
This is Mr. Bleker’s reply translated from the original Dutch:
“I took a decision on Morgan. The orca, starving and weak, was rescued from the Wadden Sea with the intention of releasing it into the wild again once it had recovered. However, scientists I asked for advice agreed it would be irresponsible to release the animal into its natural surroundings. Little is known about its family group and it is not clear whether Morgan would be accepted in a different …group. It is in Morgan’s best interests to find a sanctuary where she can come into contact with other orcas. In Loro Parque on Tenerife Morgan will be given more space and she will be placed in a group of five other orcas. This decision feels like a defeat because I too believe that this magnificent animal belongs in the sea, and not in a zoo. On that point I agree with the people allied in the orca coalition. But I am aware that her chances of survival in the wild are very slim. This is why I chose the least bad option.
Henk Bleker, Minister for Agriculture and Foreign Trade”
Needless to say I apprieciated the email and immediately answered, requesting for more information on Morgan’s future. I never recieved a reply.
When Mr. Bleker decided to send Morgan to Loro Parque, scientists and orca experts sued in attempt to repeal the decision. Today, a verdict awaited from the judge and it was concluded that Morgan would indeed be sent to Loro Parque.
The park Morgan is being sent to is already occupied by several other orcas, all of them “owned” by Seaworld Corp. Most of which are deemed unsuitible for “waterworks” (trainers working with them in the water) due to aggressive incidents, one ending in the death of trainer Alexis Martinez.
Alexis compiled many observations of the animals in his journals.
In June 2009, Alexis spoke often of Kohana, a young female whale, and her unhappy vocalizations. “Bad vocals in Pool A (alone), back to feeling insecure when separated, alone, both in shows & in sessions.” He noted that Kohana was very “unstable.” In August, Alexis focused his entries on the disasterous social structure of the Loro Parque whales:
“Keto is obsessed with controlling Kohana, he won’t separate from her, including shows. Tekoa is very sexual when he is alone with Kohana (penis out). Keto is sexual with Tekoa.” In a later entry he wrote: “Brian [Rokeach, SeaWorld’s supervising trainer at Loro Parque at the time] had a small incident with Keto the first hour of the morning. A very bad day for Keto.”
Please pray and/or send well wishes to Morgan, a baby female, who will be entering into a new way of life with these very dominant, very aggressive orcas. Activists are obviously crushed by this verdict, but it is important to remember not to give up on Morgan who no doubt, is very grateful for our efforts. The battle for Morgan is far from over.
If you want to learn more about Loro Parque orcas read “Blood in the Water,” A lengthy article by Tim Zimmermann: http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/nature/Blood-in-the-Water-Keto.html?page=all
For more information on Morgan and why she should not go to Loro Parque watch this video by Freedomfororcas: