Morgan’s Life as a Captive

     I have taken part in discussions on Morgan this week, and have heard from many captivity supporters that the Loro Parque pod is “calmer,” or “calming down,” due to Morgan’s presence at the park. It makes me wonder where exactly this information is coming from when only a few days later I stumble across this video footage of Morgan being harassed, and attacked by her tank mates.

    In the video, the two whales gang up on Morgan, chasing her across the tiny pool and back to the glass observation window several times. She cries in distress, and at one point you can see blood, pieces of skin, and rake marks on her body. In such a small space there is no where for her to run or hide from her attackers.

     This week I also came across an article by the Orca Coalitie regarding Morgan’s new life in Spain. The article states:

“The young orca is recently much more quiet and floats in a corner of her tank, where she makes stress noises. She also suffered injuries to her dorsal fin.”

     The post reveals that Morgan has spent her days floating in the back pools, even emitting depressing vocals. In this video, and several others linked in the Orca Coalitie article, you can see this, as Morgan floats in the back pools during shows, clearly not the happy orca calf that she should be.

 A lot of information regarding Morgan has turned up this week and it clearly isn’t positive. One of the pro-captivity reactions I am seeing to this news (now that they are realizing that

Rake marks on Morgan's dorsal fin.

the Loro Parque pod is not “calming down,” as previously stated) is that the group is establishing dominance. Raking is a way of encouraging hierarchy and order in the group, but it is usually a quick rake by one orca on another – this video shows 2 whales ganging up on a smaller, younger one and consistently harassing her without mercy, even to the point where injuries are clearly sustained. This is aggression and violence- far from a quick “I’m the boss” nip.  In the wild, raking is rare because whales are born into a pod is already well organized and there is a good sense of who is who in the group. They are a family. At Loro Parque, the social structure is a disaster, as the whales have come from different backgrounds, different parks, and in the case of Morgan- from the wild- and placed as strangers into this pool. They cannot create a family pod in captivity. This fact was stressed by activists to prevent Morgan from being put into captivity, and to encourage her to be reunited with her family instead.

     Another interesting statement that is mentioned by several captivity supporters is that Morgan should’ve been sent to a Seaworld Park in the U.S. rather than Loro Parque, (as though this would make a difference.) Unfortunatly, judging by the injuries Ike has sustained from his transition into a Seaworld group just in the past couple of months, it seems as though the same situation would likely take place. 

If you want to learn more about Morgan’s background click here. Links to the Free Morgan Foundation are on the right side of your screen. If you have any thoughts or questions feel free to leave them in a comment below. I’d love to know what you all think about this issue.


6 thoughts on “Morgan’s Life as a Captive

  1. LP does have some issues. They should stop inbreeding for a start. Also, I don’t know how I feel when it comes to Morgan! I would like her in a more stable pod, but I think things will settle down eventually. Raking is natural, and she needs to learn the heirachy.

  2. Thank you for updating all these things like Training methods, Ike’s injuries and so. It is always very interesting to read it:D

    I was a pro-cap. Until I went to the Dolphinarium Harderwijck on Morgan’s first “anniversary”, June 23, 2011. I always thought that she would be smaller than on pictures, and her tank would be larger.
    But when I stood in front of her tank, I got tears in my eyes. She was so beautiful, sweet, and playful. Yes, she really had been playful. After roughly 90 % of the visitors were away from her tank. But she was MUCH larger than on pictures. Her tank was MUCH smaller than on pictures.
    From that moment, I HATE captivity. It is cruel, and now, after Morgan came to LP (even though I wrote many letters to Henk Bleker), I think it is even more cruel.
    From the moment I saw her, Morgan is one of my favourite Orcas. She clearly deserves a life in the wild, with her family. Not with Orcas whos language she is not talking. Who are harrasing her with no mercy. She was born in the wild. She should live in the wild. And she should die in the wild. Not in a tiny, concrete tank……

    Thank you for reading.

  3. Morgan could have been spending her Xmas in a roomy sea-pen in her home waters listening to the calls of her extended family. Instead she gets to spend it getting the shit kicked out of her in a tiny tank with no escape. LP is definitely NOT the best place for her. So so sad.

  4. I’m not an expert on orcas but any casual observer can see there is a serious problem here. Morgan needed and deserved the chance to be reunited with her family. Her transfer to Loro Parque was a terrible injustice and she’s suffering as a result, worse than expected. And I would also like to know what those people were THINKING with their laughter in the video???

  5. I am so very sad. I feel so lost as to what we can do- do none of these people have a heart.
    My thoughts and prayers are with Morgan. Morgan’s pain is my pain. I can’t even begin to imagine such horror. Please let me know what can be done- I hope it isn’t as hopeless as it all appears-

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