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!

No Dolphinariums in Europe: June 28 Demo Gives Dolphins Hope for Freedom


By Kirsten Massebeau

Demo Banner by Sasha Alazy

Demo Banner by Sasha Alazy

Demonstrators opposing dolphinariums and captive facilities in Europe are organized and ready to go! On June 28, 2013 they will gather in Brussels with a loud and clear message to Europe demanding closure of all captive facilities. According to the demonstrators captive facilities are in direct opposition to the law:

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).

Marineland Antibes

Marineland Antibes dolphin show

Today there are 34 captive facilities and 286 cetaceans in captivity in Europe. Those countries include:Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. “WDCS anti-captivity lead, Cathy Williamson states, these commercially driven, circus-style shows may seem like fun but the truth is much sadder”. Ric O’Barry of the Dolphin Project describes captivity as a life of silence and isolation: “Most captive dolphins are confined in minuscule tanks containing chemically treated artificial seawater. Dolphins in a tank are severely restricted in using their highly developed sonar, which is one of the most damaging aspects of captivity. It is much like forcing a person to live in a hall of mirrors for the rest of their life – their image always bouncing back with no clear direction in sight”(source).

25% of the cetacean population in captive facilities in Europe were obtained from a wild source meaning capture or strand while the captive born dolphins are being bred from small breeding pools. 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.

Bottlenose dolphins have last moments together before being dragged to slaughter.  By SSCS C.G. 1.20.13

Bottlenose dolphins have last moments together before being dragged to slaughter.
By SSCS C.G. 1.20.13

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)

Two long time dolphin advocates in Europe Yvon Godfroid and Annelies Mullens could see the unsustainable situation, and the terrible dolphin suffering taking place in captive facilities throughout Europe and worldwide. Independent of all groups they decided to organize a demonstration. They realize that the hunt in Taiji and other places will never end as long as dolphinaria exists. They realize that as long as dolphinaria exists the dolphin hunt will go on.

As dolphins don’t thrive good in captivity the dolphinaria will need “fresh” genes so the dolphin hunt will go on. They have the principle that before throwing stones at other countries you have to clean up your own backyard first. So in order to stop the dolphin hunt they will fight the dolphinaria in Europe (source)

European Demonstration Brussels

European Demonstration Brussels

How can you help the dolphins and get involved in the Belgium Demonstration? Join Ric O’Barry and attend the event in Brussels! You can sign up on Facebook: Demonstration against Captivity of Cetaceans in Europe! 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 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!!!

64933_4202752074613_791715274_n

Dolphin freedom is so worth fighting for. Together we can make a difference.

Kiska an Isolated Killer Whale Highlights the Importance of Marineland Protest


By Kirsten Massebeau

Marineland Protest May 18, 2013 by Dylan Powell

Marineland Protest May 18, 2013 by Lauren Corman

They gathered 1000 strong at Marineland on May 18, 2013 calling out for the notorious Marine Park to be shut down. In August of 2012 The Star began a series of articles exposing the cruel and neglectful treatment of animals as ex-trainers came forward, “Marineland animals suffering, former staff says”. Dolphins with peeling skin, sea lions blinded by poor water quality, and the eventual violent death of an infant beluga whale are only the tip of a very large iceberg of animal abuse. In December of 2012 the Star released yet another article revealing a secret mass animals grave yet even that would not be enough to “shut it down”. Sadly The OSPCA investigation ended in April of 2013 allowing Marineland to continue with business as usual. In the article, “OSPCA investigation ends as Marineland Complies with orders” states that many orders were given some of which involved Kiska the isolated killer whale:

He said in March the verbal orders were to assess and clean up the water and to enrich the environment of lone killer whale Kiska.

Marineland administrator Tracy Stewart said in an email at the time “there is no such thing as a ‘verbal order’ and consequently none were issued,” therefore, there were no orders on Kiska and the water system.

Kiska lives her life isolated and alone. Opening day by Natalie Lucier

In the first paragraph of the Humane Societies academic paper “Killer Controversy why orca should not be kept in captivity” the author Naomi A. Rose, Ph.D. describes, orcas as intelligent and family-oriented. Orca pods in the wild stay together for a lifetime yet Kiska is kept in a tiny tank alone. Retired from performing she literally floats in a world poisoned by chlorine, devoid of family and friends, destined to spend her remaining years in the silence of  a cement pool. Never will she have a family or feel the rhythms of the ocean.

Origami by Val Underwood May 18, 2013

Origami by Val Underwood for protest May 18, 2013

The good news is the battle continues. Following the protest event one of the organizers Dylan Powell stated, ” I want people to understand how important these protests are at Marineland”. Each protest gains more supporters for the animals languishing at Marineland. While Kiska and the other animals continue to suffer with no end in sight the battle to save them carries on to “Shut It Down”.

Be a voice for those that cannot speak for themselves the animals! Join the campaign to end the captivity of animals at Marineland by joining the open Facebook group Marineland Animal Defense M.A.D. and follow on Twitter M.A.D. @marinelandAD.

Endangered Species Act Listing May be Lolita’s First Step Towards Freedom


By Kirsten Massebeau

Lolita correctedA battle to return the imprisoned orca Lolita also known as Tokitae  to her family the L-Pod in the Puget Sound makes steps forward, and towards freedom. Lolita is on the verge of being listed on the Endangered Species List. NOAA is considering adding Lolita to the Endangered species list to join her other pod mates in Washington thanks to a petition. The Orca Network believes that once she is listed she must be freed, allowed to retire and return home to her family in the Puget Sound:

“This means Lolita will now, presumably, be included as a member of an endangered population and must be accorded all the legal protections provided to her extended family. That would mean that her incarceration in a concrete box for the benefit of the entertainment industry would henceforth be illegal” (source

The cruel Penn Cove round up, 1970

The cruel Penn Cove round up, August 8, 1970

For 40 years Lolita has been imprisoned at the Miami Seaquarium in one of the worlds tiniest tanks. Lolita is known as the remaining survivor of the famous Penn Cove Round up that took place August 8,1970. Seven whales were taken for captivity during the violent round up. Five other whales, including four babies drown. The victims that were killed had their bellies slit and filled with rocks in an attempt to cover up their deaths. But on November 18, 1970 the terrible secret of what happened that terrible day at Penn Cove would be revealed to the world:

“In mid-November a trawler dragged the bodies of the drowned infants into its net. The captain of the fishing boat deposited the dead baby whales on a beach in front of a Seattle newspaper reporter, and the story was immediately told to the world. Six years later this discovery played a major role in a court decision that banned Sea World from ever capturing another killer whale in Washington State”. (source)

Lolita enslaved at the Miami Seaquarium

Lolita enslaved at the Miami Seaquarium for 40 years!

Lolita has been performing at the Miami Seaquarium since 1970. The other seven whales captured with Lolita died within five years of their capture. Today Lolita the last remaining member of those captured from the Puget Sound has a chance at freedom and we can help! NOAA is asking for public comment on her upcoming Endangered Species listing. Please make a comment here. Let them know you support her addition to the endangered species listing and her eventual freedom. Isn’t it time this highly intelligent hard worker is allowed to retire and return home?

Multinational Naval Exercise Meant Death and Destruction for Pilot Whales and Orcas


By Kirsten Massebeau

Naval exercises in the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean Concluded April 29, 2013

Naval exercises in the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean Concluded April 29, 2013

The military is calling their multinational Naval exercises a success: “A giant exercise off the coast of Scotland which involved more than 30 warships and 65 aircraft from 13 European countries has drawn to a close”. During their exercises the Navy tried to recreate war-time situations through the use of sonar, underwater detonations, and other tactical maneuvers.

As well as the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, elements of the Army, RAF and forces from countries including the Netherlands, Canada, France, Denmark, Belgium, Norway, Poland, Sweden and Germany, also took part. There were a total of around 12,000 personnel involved. (Source)

3 pilot whales stranded near Portmahomack, Easter Ross April 25, 2013

3 pilot whales stranded near Portmahomack, Easter Ross April 25, 2013

On April 25, 2013 three pilot whales stranded near Portmahomack, Easter Ross. The stranding was immediately connected to the military operations forcing the exercise to move, “Bosses behind the biggest military exercise in Europe were forced to relocate their operation after three whales became stranded on a Scots beach” (source) Sadly the Navy’s change of location would be too late for the three pilot whales, one of which died. 

5 orcas strand off the Coast of Iceland April 29, 2013

4 out of the 6 orcas that stranded off the Coast of Iceland April 29, 2013 died

The biggest Naval exercises in European waters would continue to take it’s toll on cetaceans. On April 29, 2013 five orca stranded off the coast of Iceland. Although none of the countries present have stepped forward to take the blame for the death of this pod the evidence continues to point in the direction of sonar or underwater explosions. Although Iceland is 834 miles from Scotland two points must be made:

1) The exercises were moved

2) The use of sonar in each submarine, and warship could have been used anywhere and at anytime. It’s use is not exclusive to exercises.

April 29, 2013 Iceland a dying orca with bloody eyes cries out for it’s podmates

The information connecting cetacean strandings is always difficult to obtain but don’t we as citizens of the world and advocates for cetaceans and the ocean have a responsibility take action for the dolphins and whales who need our help so desperately. Sonar and seismic testing are deadly to cetaceans. Isn’t it time we started questioning it’s use worldwide. When does the price for war games played in the ocean become too great?

Read an updated article that connects all the dots and lists additional deaths!

Military excercise Joint Warrior & Marine Mammal Casualties: 6 killer whales, 4 pilot whales and one Sowerby’s beaked whale

Champions for Cetaceans Daily Scoop: Capture of Russian Orcas


By Kirsten Massebeau

Russian Orca’s By russianorca.org

On September 25, 2012 Russian Orca confirmed via Facebook that orca captures have taken place in Russia.

“Following rumours, we confirmed today that at least two orcas were captured in August in the Western Okhotsk Sea near Reineke Island by Sochi Dolphinarium. One of them is either dead or released. Another orca was transported to Vladivostok. That’s all we know for now, trying to find out more. Tell us what you think and we’ll get the message to Sochi Dolphinarium” (source)

“Regarding the Russian orca capture by Sochi Dolphinarium, we have heard that the plan for the orca being held in Vladivostok is to sell him/her outside of Russia but no idea where…” (source)

“We have had no indications yet of where the orca is headed. We should share info if anyone hears anything” (source)

“The orcas were captured in the SW Sea of Okhotsk, a long way from our main study area off eastern Kamchatka/Commander Islands. We have only a very few orca photo-IDs obtained from our studies in that area. So yes, it’s possible but not likely. In any case, for now we don’t have a photo of the capture or of the individual being kept in Vladivostok. If we do get a photo, we will compare it right away”.(source)

Orca today are known to be unsuitable for captivity. Orca families stay together for a lifetime. Orca are known to be the most social beings on the planet and their lives are spent swimming great distances in the ocean. Is it right that these highly intelligent beings that have proved to be so dangerous in captivity, continue to be captured?

The book written by David Kirby, “Death at Sea World” explains just why orca should not be in captivity and how really dangerous it is. Please share the book, and encourage friends not to spend their dollars supporting an industry where highly intelligent beings are taken from their families and suffer for our entertainment.

Awareness and education are key to change!

Watch A Fall From Freedom here!

Connect with Russian Orca on Facebook or their website, russianorca.org

For more information “Death at Sea World” on Facebook or their website deathatseaworld.com

Join Champions for Cetaceans on Facebook for cetacean issues and news.

Navy Forum Offers Public Input On Future Sonar Activity


Picture by Sandy Sullivan taken at Jeremy Point, Wellfleet

Sonar is known to be harmful to dolphins and whales killing and causing them to strand. For every one dolphin that strands another 10 have sank at sea. The Navy is tripling the amount of sonar they will be broadcasting. This means 30 million marine mammals will be impacted!! Naval sonar tests will be conducted in all the oceans with the exception of the Arctic and Antarctic. Follow the link to comment. Please speak up for dolphins and whales they need your voice! Link to Navy