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Mass stranding of pilot whales in Tasmania

Mass stranding of pilot whales in Tasmania

Over 450 pilot whales have stranded in various locations along a stretch of coastline in...
Tahlequah, the Southern Resident orca, gives birth to healthy calf

Tahlequah, the Southern Resident orca, gives birth to healthy calf

J35 and J57. Photo by Katie Jones, Center for Whale Research / Permit #21238 Tahlequah...
Why do female orcas live so long after they stop having babies?

Why do female orcas live so long after they stop having babies?

Orcas are one of only five species known to experience menopause and females can live...
Humpback whales swim up river in Kakadu National Park

Humpback whales swim up river in Kakadu National Park

Wildlife experts in Australia's Northern Territory are monitoring a humpback whale that has travelled 18...

Morgan Having A Rough Time At Loro Parque

It seems WDCS’s fears for the welfare of Morgan the orca have sadly been proven correct sooner than previously thought, with new pictures emerging that clearly show damage to her dorsal fin.

Orca Morgan with bitemarks on her dorsal fin. Photo: Free Morgan Foundation
Damage on Morgan’s dorsal fin. Photo: Free Morgan Foundation

Those who have followed this sad story recently will remember that a court in the Netherlands had decided that Morgan, a young female wild orca held at the Harderwijk dolphinarium since her rescue from the Wadden Sea in June 2010, should be transferred from the Netherlands to remain in captivity at the Loro Parque zoo in the Canary Islands rather than be released back into the sea.

This decision came despite the majority of experts initially consulted regarding Morgan’s possible release changing their opinions and agreeing that the orca is a potential candidate for release back into the wild.

WDCS raised fears for Morgan’s health and welfare at the time as she has been introduced into a new captive environment, to orcas who are strangers to her and to the circus-style shows at LoroParque. On her arrival at Loro Parque, Morgan was quickly introduced to other animals from this highly unstable group of orcas, with no period of quarantine. Recent video footage shows Morgan being continually rammed and bitten by the other female orcas there, Kohana and Skyla. Visitors to the park have since observed her alone and isolated in one of the shallow, side pools.

Orca Ikaika with rakemarks. Photo: Helen Alexander
Orca Ikaika with deep rake marks. Photo: Helen Alexander

Observers have also noted deep rake marks on Ikaika (Ike) after his recent transfer from Marineland Canada back to SeaWorld in San Diego. These images of both Morgan and Ike reveal the difficulties of integrating into unstable or established captive orca hierarchies and underlie the extremely stressful captive environment.

Read more about this story here.