Morgan’s Wild Blood Essential to SeaWorld’s Crumbling Breeding Program: No Dolphinaria in Europe!

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”.

Morgan and Vickie both were housed at  Loro Parque

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:

The photo shows Morgan chewing the side of her tank at Loro Parque. How can they possibly say this is 'normal'? Via Free Morgan Facebook

The photo shows Morgan chewing the side of her tank at Loro Parque. How can they possibly say this is ‘normal’? Via Free Morgan Facebook

“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!

Help Dolphins on Ocean Day! Support European Dolphin Demonstration for Freedom

By Kirsten Massebeau

Ocean day is a day to celebrate our oceans, understand more about them, and take action to help the very bodies of water that give our world life. Part of the amazing underwater world of the oceans are the inhabitants which include dolphins. Highly intelligent with brains as large as mans dolphins remain at the top of the food chain in the ocean. They can easily be categorized as the people of the sea. Dolphin families stay together for a lifetime living in socially complex societies. They recognize themselves in the mirror, and call each other by name. Many scientists today believe that cetaceans deserve status as non-human persons: “They believe dolphins – and their whale cousins – are sufficiently intelligent and self-aware to justify the same ethical considerations given to humans. Recognizing cetaceans’ rights would mean an end to whaling and the captivity of dolphins and whales, or their use in entertainment “. (source).

Bruges Dolphinarium by Frederich Clemente

Bruges Dolphinarium by Frederich Clemente

Sadly despite the scientific data that deems dolphins unsuitable for captivity the practice continues. Bruges Dolphinarium in Europe is just one example of the terrible dolphin suffering that takes place in Europe and worldwide. Trapped in cement tanks filled with chlorinated water dolphins are forced to spend their lives in suffering for human entertainment, forced to perform tricks for dead fish something that would have never been part of their diet in the wild. In 2005 Toni Frohoff, Ph.D. prepared a report entitled, Report on Observations and Preliminary Assessment at Boudewijn Seapark Dolphinarium in Brugges, Belgium:

Bruges dolfinarium is considered as “substandard”. The fate of our 6 dolphins (more than 30 died Under the Dark Dome) is a good example of cruelty, as Morgan is a good example of commercial cynism of Industry. Dr Toni Frohoff said : “The facility itself appears to be sub-standard compared to many facilities around the world that a) provide a more naturalistic environment for dolphins and b) adhere to international governmental regulations This is especially notable due to the extreme noise and reverberation that is characteristic of an indoor facility (and in particular this one that plays such loud music and encourages loud sounds from the audience as well). In fact, this was the loudest facility of the many that I have visited – and in my opinion, is completely unacceptable and constitutes cruelty to these animals who are well-known for their exquisitely sensitive hearing. Further, the ambient and reverberating noises of the indoor facility pumps and maintenance systems may produce continuous noise from which the dolphins cannot escape” (source)

Many died in the nets as the capture process continued.  By SSCS Cove Guardians December 13th, 2012

Many died in the nets as the capture process continued. Those dolphins unwanted for captivity were  slaughtered for pet food and human consumption.
By SSCS Cove Guardians December 13th, 2012

According to Born Free these facilities breeding pools are unsustainable which will force dolphinariums to purchase wild dolphins: “The captive population is unsustainable. Captures of wild dolphins for captivity still goes on in some parts of the world. The danger remains that if the number of dolphinaria in the EU remains the same or increases that attempts may be made by dolphinaria to import further wild-caught dolphins into the EU which contradicts EU law, too” (source)

Long-time activists Yvon Godfroid and Annelies Mullens have been fighting on the European front for dolphins for many years and they need our help. On June 28, 2013 Yvon Godfroid, Annelies Mullens, Ric O’Barry and many other dolphin advocates are demonstrating in Brussels demanding all Dolphinariums be closed. To make this effort a success every dollar counts. No matter where you live you can be a part of this big day for dolphins. A small contribution will help to bring Ric O’Barry to the event, and bring media to the forefront on this very special day for the all  the captive dolphins imprisoned in Europe and worldwide.

According to the experts the captive facilities in Europe are in direct conflict with the European Council:

“The European Council Directive 1999/22/EC on the keeping of wild animals in zoos requires that  animals must be  kept in conditions that meet their biological and conservation requirements. Yet in the case of cetaceans, it is impossible for these requirements to be met in captivity. Because no tanks, no lagoons as big as they can be, could ever replace the freedom of swimming in the immensity of the ocean”(source).

Wild and Free Bottlenose Dolphins Swimming off the Coast of Scotland  By Peter Asprey

Wild and Free Bottlenose Dolphins Swimming off the Coast of Scotland
By Peter Asprey

How can you help to further the goal of dolphin freedom? If you are not in Europe and cannot attend the even you can still be a voice for the dolphins and support the demonstration by making a donation no matter how small or large to the Europe Must Ban Dolphinaria Demo. You can sign up on Facebook for the demo and for daily updates on the event: Demonstration against Captivity of Cetaceans in Europe! You can find more information on the actual demo at: For a Delphinarium-free Europe!!! You can also sign the petition All dolphinaria must be closed in Europe!!!

Together we can make a difference for dolphins and the oceans!