Advocates, organizations and orca experts have fought a long and passionate battle to free Morgan, an orca currently held captive at Loro Parque on the island of Tenerife, the largest and most populous of the seven Canary Islands. Today, a ruling from the Dutch Council of State put freedom further out of reach for this desperate whale, who was once swimming free and now performs for crowds.
In 2010, Morgan was found underweight and semi-stranded in the Wadden Sea. After being sent to the Dolfinarium in Harderwijk, she was transferred to Loro Parque in late 2011 with permission from the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs. The Dutch government claimed that this was the best option for Morgan, and that there was no viable alternative, such as release back to the sea.
Shortly following Morgan’s arrival at Loro Parque, she was performing tricks for the paying marine park-goers. The captive industry once again showed that captivity is not about education, conservation, and certainly not about the animals – it is about profit, plain and simple.
Aquariums and marine parks are linked in their web of lies and the reaches of the biggest players extend around the globe. The other orcas at Loro Parque are owned by SeaWorld.
Morgan was transported to Loro Parque via ULS Cargo Airlines, a company that has transported dolphins captured in Taiji. Once again, we see captivity’s link, all around the world, to the brutal slaughter of dolphins and small whales in Taiji, Japan.
Today, following years of previous legal proceedings, the Dutch Court ruled that Morgan’s transfer to Loro Parque was lawful, and that release is not a “satisfactory solution” because her pod has not been found, citing that these orcas belong to a “strict social structure.” This may be true, but Morgan is currently living in a false pod of orcas at Loro Parque, with other captive whales who have repeatedly shown aggression and injured Morgan. This is not the natural family of any of these whales. The court declared that it does not have jurisdiction to rule on the matter of Morgan’s care at Loro Parque or the incidents between her and the other orcas, only on the permit that was issued for Morgan’s transfer to Loro Parque.
For now, Morgan remains a prisoner, like so many others whose worlds have been reduced to barren tanks. As a wild-caught female, Morgan is lucrative and she will be forced to pad the wallets of the captive industry as a breeding machine. From the killing Cove of Taiji to SeaWorld, from Loro Parque to aquariums and marine parks around the globe, the captive industry will stop at nothing to keep the money pouring through their turnstiles.