Must the show go on? Loro Parque loses an orca

It is with great sadness that WDC learns about the death of the ten-month old orca known as Vicky at Loro Parque in Tenerife, Spain. This poor orca never really stood a chance. I saw her at Loro Parque last September when she was just one month old. I was there to check up on Morgan after reading reports of her getting battered and rammed by the other orcas as they attempted to establish a social hierarchy over her. Whilst observing Morgan I could see this tiny calf at the far end of the holding pool receiving constant attention from the trainers. I knew this was Vicky and, like her older brother before her, also knew she had been rejected by their mother, Kohana, at birth.

This was hardly surprising. Kohana was just seven years old, a child herself, when she first became pregnant with Adan and was ten years old when she gave birth to her second calf. In the wild female orcas are at least 13 years old before they have their first born and then are surrounded by their extended family, often including mothers, aunts and grannies, providing expert care and support. Kohana does have a family of sorts at Loro Parque but in the very worst possible sense – the father of both her calves, according to media reports, is actually her uncle, Keto. Serious concerns over the level of inbreeding and orca attacks - on each other and their trainers - at Loro Parque has given this marine park the unenviable reputation of housing the most dysfunctional group of orcas in captivity today.

This vile ‘experiment’ in trying to display and breed these huge, powerful ocean animals in concrete tanks has surely failed. How many more must die before we say enough is enough?

 Today, there are now 45 captive orcas in 7 countries. 13 of these were snatched from the ocean.

Comments

45 too many Orcas - and they can't honestly say that inbreeding, and at an early age is the correct thing to do. Would they expect this from one of their own children?

i've visited Loro Parque twice in the last two years and was amazed by how graceful these beautiful creatures are. However, having trawled through the internet and discovered how inept Loro Parque are at looking after their Orcas i'm so disgusted that I'll never go back there. Whilst the trainers obviously do love and take care of the animals, its obvious that the park as a whole, just see them as a money making scheme which is wrong. In-breeding is rife as are attacks by numerous whales on Morgan in particular. What chance has she to avoid it when she's stuck in a tank that she can't escape from? its so inhumane and they need to take a long look at themselves and realise that these are wild animals who should be introduced to the open oceans slowly and eventually released

I have never Visited Loro Parque nor would I. Having seen wild Orcas in Iceland I could never support an establishment that keeps these magnificent, intelligent and social creatures in concrete tanks. How many more orcas need to die in captivity and how many trainers need to die or be injured before we put an end to this practice.

I'm glad that it turned out so effectively and I hope it will continue in the future because it is so worthwhile and meaningful to the community. eacbeeeeakcd

I visited Loro Parque several times, and on each day I saw their Orca shows at least twice (as they are always a bit different) I am an animal lover, I admit I do not know much about Orcas as did not have practice with them but I know new several animals and live / lived together with them always treating them with respect (and not like toys or slaves).
My opinion: I never experienced extreme suffering of their orcas. Shows are always run in a good mood. I do not think that there is a way to force an 1.6 tons animal to take part and play with us or to us if they do not wish. I think if they must live in captivity because of a reason or another (was born in captivity or was just rescued in a condition nearly death like Morgan), a captivity where they can take part in shows and be together with human company is rather fun, something to help not to be so bored. I am not sure they can be more happy in the wild as they never lived in the wild or almost died in the wild. It is the same as if someone suggest me to release to my cats because a big house and garden is not enough and not a real freedom and a week later half of them probably would be ran overed or injured (fights), teared by dogs, very hungry, sick and in poor condition and so on.
I do not think that an orca show is very different to our everyday practice when we play with our pets, like throwing ball to a dog or moving feathery stick to a cat. They clearly enjoy playing together and grateful to that. So what is exactly the difference? However I agree the inbreeding part, but do not know how can it be solved. Also, in any community (wild or domesticated) there are fights for hierarchy, we can feel sorry, but it is part of their natural life except of course that when they do it in the ocean we can't see which does not mean that it is not happens. I guess this whole fight about free them or not is rather about money and ignorance and reading here and there different opinions of people half of them look knowing nothing about animals in general or their natural behaviour but clearly wear disney-pink glasses. Of course the best way would be to ask these animals about their wishes like how they would like to live but guess there is no way to do this. So as long as I can see them happy enough, they (orcas and dolphines both) look to enjoy humans and the love and euforic waves of audience (they often peek out of water before shows to see people around and they are intelligent and curious), it is ok to me as can't see better solution for them and as they clearly look to enjoy participate on these shows. They give us the outstanding experience to see them and admire them from so close and we gave them our love and a more or less safe life where there is food enough and company enough, fun enough.

I couldn't agree more!N1ATK