By Kirsten Massebeau
She was rescued from the Wadden Sea, in the North Atlantic June 23, 2010 and named Morgan by Dolfinarium Harderwijk a marine park in the Netherlands . The juvenile female orca was found to be malnourished and thin, but otherwise healthy. Dolfinarium Harderwijk was granted a permit that allowed them to rescue, (capture) this young orca but with the stipulation that she be rehabilitated and returned to the wild as soon as possible. With what seemed a well laid out plan Dolphinarium Harderwijk ignored the stipulations of the permit and isolated Morgan in a tank tiny for her size, and put her on display.
“Quite simply, Morgan, an intelligent, highly social animal that used to swim 100 kilometres a day in the wild, has been illegally abducted by the captivity industry and is now forced to perform idiotic tricks in a bathtub”.
Despite a solid release program, and sightings of Morgan’s pod Dolphinarium Harderwiijk convinced the Dutch Government that Morgan was ineligible for release and should be transferred to Morgan Loro Parque a dolphinarium in Spain that displays orcas and are known for their role in SeaWorld’s breeding program. Doctor Ingrid Visser of Free Morgan Foundation simply stated the obvious in a Take Part article in December of 2012:
“It is now clear that they never intended to release her, as they encouraged her to learn tricks, put her on public display and never fed her live fish. Obviously they never released her. Rather, they sent her another marine park, this one in Spain”.
The death of Vicky a 10 month old orca at Loro Parque has put SeaWorld’s questionable captive breeding program under the spotlight. Their reckless interbreeding of young orcas has created an inbreed population that will eventually collapse without new blood. In her article Young orca dies at Loro Parque in Tenerife environmental blogger Elizabeth Batt explains Vicky’s inbred lineage: ”The young Vicky then, shared the same grandfather as her dam, but on Keto’s side, and again as a great-grandfather on Kohana’s side, (through Takara). In short, Vicky was blood-related to 21 out of 26 SeaWorld whales, as is Adan”. In a more recent article Batt takes the reader through yet more of the dark twists and turns of SeaWorld’s breeding program in her article: “Orca bloodlines show rampant inbreeding in captive orcas“, revealing the many problems with inbreeding: “For years, scientists have chalked up mental illness and deformities to rare genetic mutations, which come to the fore only when related individuals breed”.
SeaWorld has listed Morgan as part of their collection making her a virtual commodity on the stock market as noted by Matthew Spiegel in his article, “SeaWorld’s IPO and the Third Question of Conscience” he asks stock buyers to question their ethics before buying SeaWorld stock which was founded on dolphin suffering and he puts a face to Morgan through the eyes of Doctor Visser:
“Morgan is more than just an abstract thought, she is more than just a money making commodity and she is certainly more than just a breeding machine, she is an individual orca. We have learned that her species is self-aware, sentient and that they have many of the same emotions that we have. To put her in a featureless concrete tank, where she is constantly harassed by the other orca, where she is made to perform tricks to get fed and to try and breed from her when she is so young is not only shameful it is morally and ethically abhorrent. The tide is turning against such a cruel and unjustified misuse of these animals. I can only hope that it will turn fast enough for Morgan.” — Dr. Ingrid Visser, Free Morgan Foundation”.
Although SeaWorld (the Blackstone Corportation) seems to think Morgan is their new blood for breeding, and that her incarceration in captivity is forever they are underestimating the dolphin advocates, and the scientific community. Campaigns have been mounted to restore Morgan to her family and close all the Dolphinariums in Europe. On June 28, 2013 dolphin advocates are meeting in Brussels to give Europe a loud and clear message: Close the captive facilities down! Please join the event on Facebook and sign the petition Close All Dolphinaria in Europe.
To learn more about Morgan and how you can help visit the Free Morgan Foundation and be a part of Morgan’s upcoming appeal for Freedom!