Morgan Gives Birth: Another Orca Is Condemned to a Tiny, Concrete Cell
Morgan, an orca held captive at Loro Parque marine park in Tenerife, Spain, has given birth to her first calf after suffering in captivity for over eight years. She delivered the baby in a small concrete tank – a far cry from her natural habitat and without the vital support of her pod.
Morgan once swam free in the ocean with her family – whom she no doubt remembers. But in 2010, she was seen swimming off the coast of the Netherlands, and because she appeared emaciated, she was captured by a Dutch dolphinarium, specifically for the purpose of rehabilitating her to be released. But she was ultimately betrayed by her “rescuers” and shipped to Loro Parque, where she has been subjected to a life of misery and forced to perform for visitors ever since.
Morgan is now about 11 years old, and she’s suffering immensely in captivity. She has been attacked by other orcas, and because of the stress she has endured, she has repeatedly smashed her head into a gate and has even beached herself beside the tank in which she’s made to perform. Even though, according to the Free Morgan Foundation, laws prohibit using her for breeding, Loro Parque did just that. Newborn calves attract larger numbers of visitors, thereby boosting the park’s profits.
In the wild, orca calves are raised not just by their mothers but also by other adults in their pods. But those locked in marine park cells are commonly separated from their family members and housed with incompatible animals. According to scientists, captive mother orcas have been known to reject their offspring – a phenomenon that’s very rare in the wild. Often, it’s because they’re forced to breed even though they haven’t been taught essential parenting skills by older orcas or aren’t mature enough to rear a calf – in the ocean, orcas begin reproducing at around 15 years old on average.
According to marine scientists, orca calves nurse by holding their mouths over their mother’s teat while she releases milk as they swim, but feeding in this way can be difficult and stressful in the extremely cramped space of a tank. Sadly, Morgan is likely to be impregnated again and again for as long as she’s imprisoned at the marine park.
What You Can Do
- Captivity kills, and orcas deserve their freedom. If you want to help Morgan, her calf, and other orcas suffering in captivity, please never visit any marine park that exploits animals for entertainment.
- Please also urge decision-makers to transfer Morgan and her calf to a seaside sanctuary: