Morgan’s story is a case study in how the cover of “rehabilitation” is sometimes used as a way to bring wild marine mammals into captivity, which is always looking to diversify the gene pool. I doubt Loro Parque or any other marine park would have been so eager to bring Morgan into their collection if the Judge that authorized that decision had said that she was not to be used for breeding.
I’ve been getting a lot of updates from folks who are worried about how Morgan is being treated by the other killer whales at Loro Parque. The first flurry of concern was related to this image of Morgan’s dorsal film, which was screen-capped from a video, and appears to show bite marks on Morgan’s dorsal fin.
I was also tipped to this video, which appears on a Facebook group called Occupy Loro Parque. It shows Loro Parque owner Wolfgang Kiessling walking over to the med pool after a show, to discuss Morgan and take a look at her dorsal with two trainers. Fast forward to the 2:20 mark, where Kiessling makes an appearance:
Finally, I was sent a link to this video, which appears to show Morgan, Kohana and Skyla swimming together in the main show pool. I am not enough of an expert on killer whale behavior to evaluate whether Morgan is being harassed or chased, and what her vocals indicate. But the video does show what appears to be this pretty nasty rake along her side.
Here is the full video, for comment and analysis.
UPDATE: Since I posted the above video it has been removed from YouTube. It has been republished here by someone who wanted to preserve the record of Morgan’s life at Loro Parque. Here is the republished version:
The social grouping at Loro Parque has always been a volatile one, and it is impressive to see the degree to which Morgan’s welfare there is being tracked with such passion and commitment.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Today, December 24, is the 2-year anniversary of the death of Alexis Martinez, who was killed by Keto at Loro Parque on Dec. 24, 2009. I never met Alexis, but I have met his family. They are wonderful, caring, people who are handling a tragic loss with courage and grace. I am amazed by their strength and they deserve all the love and support the world can offer them on this most difficult day of the year.
There is something quite extraordinary about moving orcas from one place to another. Part of it is the sophistication of the planning and the technology that has evolved to make this commonplace. Part of it is the awareness that the orca is a very intelligent and aware animal, which makes me wonder just what, exactly, an orca being transported must be thinking.
Here is what Morgan’s trip from Dolfinarium Harderwijk to Loro Parque involved on the Harderwijk side:
Loro Parque also has a young calf, Adan, who is just over a year old. And to add to the potential complexity of adding Morgan to the Loro Parque mix, there is a lot of speculation among people who follow orcas and the marine parks closely that Kohana, the mother of Adan, is pregnant again. There has been no confirmation or comment either way from Loro Parque about this. But this is what Kohana looks like these days.
I am no expert, but here are some recent videos of Kohana a friend sent me, with the following comment:
She’s starting to get chunky enough that you should be able to pick her out as being the fat one even if you can’t ID her well otherwise. She looks way too big now for it to just be some change in her weight or something.
What do you think?
UPDATE: I just got solid confirmation that Kohana is in fact pregnant. So, with the addition of Morgan, Loro Parque is headed toward seven orcas, unless they move one or more out over the next year.