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Morgan the orca in captivity © C. Robles
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Long-finned pilot whale

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Another captive orca tragedy as Morgan’s calf Ula dies

Only five months after young orca Skyla died at Loro Parque in Spain, another orca lost her life here yesterday. Morgan's calf Ula died a few weeks before her 3rd birthday. In spring 2021 the park had announced that Ula was suffering from an intestinal condition. After an update in May stating that Ula was doing better, no further details were given until yesterday, when her death was announced. Ula was not the first calf to die at Loro Parque: in 2013 baby Vicky died at the age of only 10 months.

How ironic then that the day before Ula's death was announced, Loro Parque stated in a blog that "Modern zoological facilities have been taking care of cetaceans since several decades. All the scientific evidence shows that currently they have longer living expectancy under human care than in the wild, which probes that they receive adequate care and thrive in dolphinariums."

A young female orca in the wild may expect to live a long life in excess of 60 years. Loro Parque started keeping orcas in 2006, and since then has tragically lost three individuals aged 17 years, almost 3 years and 10 months old. Just five remain.

WDC will continue to work towards a phase-out of whale and dolphin captivity. An alternative to life in a concrete tanks would be ocean sanctuaries, where the intelligent and social marine mammals can live in a more natural environment and in some cases be prepared for a release back into the wild. Last year two captive beluga whales from China were brought to Iceland into the first sanctuary of its kind established by SeaLife Trust in cooperation with WDC.

Find out more about the fate of orcas in captivity

Ula at Loro Parque
Ula at Loro Parque © One Voice

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About George Berry

George is a member of WDC's Communications team and website coordinator.

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