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Humpback whale underwater

Climate giants – how whales can help save the world

We know that whales, dolphins and porpoises are amazing beings with complex social and family...
Black Sea common dolphins © Elena Gladilina

The dolphin and porpoise casualties of the war in Ukraine

Rare, threatened subspecies of dolphins and porpoises live in the Black Sea along Ukraine's coast....
WDC's Ed Fox, Chris Butler-Stroud and Carla Boreham take a message from the ocean to parliament

Taking a message from the ocean to parliament

It's a sad fact that whales and dolphins don't vote in human elections, but I...
Minke whale © Ursula Tscherter - ORES

The whale trappers are back with their cruel experiment

Anyone walking past my window might have heard my groan of disbelief at the news...
Boto © Fernando Trujillo

Meet the legendary pink river dolphins

Botos don't look or live like other dolphins. Flamingo-pink all over with super-skinny snouts and...
Tokitae in captivity

Talking to TUI – will they stop supporting whale and dolphin captivity?

Last Thursday I travelled to Berlin for a long-anticipated meeting with TUI senior executives. I...

Earth Day Q&A with Waipapa Bay Wines’ marketing director, Fran Draper

We've been partnered with Waipapa Bay Wines since 2019 so for this year's Earth Day,...
Orcas at the seabed

The secrets of orca beach life

Rubbing on smooth pebbles is a generations-old cultural tradition for a particular group of orcas...

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.