An update on Morgan

Knowing the facts is one thing…

… seeing things with your own eyes is a different story.

1437 days, or 34,499 hours or the unbelievable amount of 2,069,925 minutes – this is the time a wild Norwegian orca called Morgan had spent in captivity when the appeal hearing for her case was heard in front of the Raad van State, the Dutch High Court, on December 3, 2013. Many of us knew how long Morgan was kept in a tank by then as we followed and were involved in her battle for freedom since her capture in 2010, but seeing these numbers on a huge banner (created by UK supporters Shari and Megan) was a different story...

More than 80 supporters from different countries (including Belgium, the UK, Switzerland, Norway, Germany, the USA, New Zealand and the Netherlands) travelled to The Hague to support Morgan’s fight for freedom. The court not only had to move the hearing to the biggest court room but also were kind enough to bring additional chairs into this room to accommodate the numerous supporters. The hearing lasted 1.5 hours and Morgan’s interests were very well represented by lawyer Mr. Wijngaarden and expert witnesses Dr. Ingrid Visser and Jeff Foster. The other parties, the Dolfinarium Harderwijk (who had Morgan in their facility before she was shipped to Loro Parque in Spain in November 2011) and the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation (who made the decision that it was in Morgan`s best interest to be shipped to Loro Parque) were represented by their lawyers, with dolphinarium staff (including the head veterinarian of the Dolfinarium Harderwijk) also present. Loro Parque, where Morgan is currently held, was represented by Dr. Javier Almunia, the head of orca research at the facility.

In October 2013, after several requests to inspect Morgan at Loro Parque made by the Free Morgan Foundation and Dutch organisations involved in the case were turned down, a request for an independent inspection was submitted by several international conservation and animal welfare NGOs, including WDC. This request was turned down as well, on the grounds that “… in granting the right for inspection to an external organization not linked to any competent governmental agency, professional association or certification entity, we would be undermining the Inspection capacity which is in Spain exclusively reserved by law to the competent authorities”.

A report submitted by Loro Parque’s veterinary consultant since 1986, only hours before the deadline stated that: “Morgan’s physical condition and health are excellent”. This late submission meant that Free Morgan Foundation experts and Morgan’s lawyer had very little time to react to these claims, which cannot, by any means, be called independent. Furthermore, the report was based on only a couple of hours of observation time. In contrast, Dr. Ingrid Visser, orca biologist and expert scientist for the Free Morgan Foundation, observed Morgan for more than 77 hours for her “Report on the Physical & Behavioural Status of Morgan, the Wild-Born Orca held in Captivity at Loro Parque, Tenerife, Spain” () in 2012 and has observed Morgan on several more occasions.

 

This raises the question as to how on earth the Free Morgan Foundation is supposed to be able to get independent data about Morgan’s physical and psychological condition other than from experts consulted (and paid) by Loro Parque? The only way independent assessors have been able to observe Morgan so far has been by entering the park as a visitor, with observations and photographs being collected from the public viewing area during entertainment shows.

However, Loro Parque has taken more and more measures to prevent Morgan being observed by external experts. The view to the tanks has been blocked (as shown on page 18 in Dr. Visser’s report mentioned above) and it is only possible to see the orcas for a few minutes before and after the shows, which take place three times per day.

A photo taken by Dr. Visser during her visit in November 2013, showing the worrying state of Morgan’s teeth and rostrum, was posted on the Free Morgan Foundation Facebook page and shared more than 3,400 times (and many more times through independent postings on other pages, such as the “Blackfish the Movie” Facebook page, resulting in another 500 shares and 250 comments).

In February, the Judges will announce their verdict for Morgan’s appeal process, as to whether the right decision was made to relocate her to Loro Parque. Originally it was planned to announce the verdict on January 15, but the court delayed the announcement to February 19. One can only hope that they will agree that Morgan’s abuse should not continue for a single day longer and she should be given the chance to return to her natural habitat.

Banner image copyright Marjon van der Vegt

Morgan image copyright WDC/Ulla Christina Ludewig

Comments

Free Morgan now enough of captive misery for profits release Morgan into her natural habitat & family pod before its too late & Loro Park has Morgan's blood in their hands

Show your growth in compassion and awareness ...Free Morgsn!

No captivity for any creature.

All wild animals have the right to be free!This is a cruel practice that we humans due to living creatures that only want our love! Free Morgan

Do the right thing here. set her free. This is 2014. Orcas do not belong in captivity. This is savage and cruel!! she has a family!

This is a wild animal that does not belong in a tank! Free Morgan!

I hope the court makes the right decision. She belongs in the wild with the rest of the captured whales and dolphins etc. Nothing but greed keeping them in tanks.

We've seen the conditions. No living being Should be subjected to this cruel torturous imprisonment for money. This intelligent creature has a family. Please let's put humanity back into the human race.

If you set Morgan free, this will inspire people arOund the world to do the same. Please take the right decision and let's put captivity for entertainment to an end.

Make the intelligent choice!!! and Free Morgan!!!

Morgan was KIDNAPPED in the first instanse, she does not"BELONG" to these people,lets not EVER forget this. Did they pay the millions these creatures go for ? NO! Being rehabilitated was the initial plan. To an honest person that means cure her ailments and then return her to the wild and her family , as was the initial brief, and release her to where she was captured from.
She is now rehabilitated and why dont they do what they set out to do, release her? What are they doing with a now rehabilitated Morgan? Oh! she now has a hearing problem they claim,that they need to look at. this is just another ploy. In the wild she would have the same hearing problem! What would happen is that her pod would help her, and she would, as we do with a defect ADAPT. Her pod would take care of her, as they do as evolved mammals, with a far more tightly knit family ethic than us humans.
Ask the question, how much money Loro Parque are making out of her from performances, what she has grossed since she was kinapped, and then ask what her eggs are worth, to be used for invitro feritlisation, these eggs harvested and sent particulaly to America where they are banned from importing wild Marine Mamals, and need to increase their gene pool. Procreation by means of in vitro fertilisation is her next and most important money making ability for many years. She is worth far to much for this bunch of thieves to give her up! She is worth billions over a protrated period of time to both Loro Parque and the rest of this cartel, to ever let her go without a HUGE fight!
Is this ethical I ask you, in the English language we say "is this cricket" an analagy for where honour abounds-absolutly NOT! THere is no honour in this industry, just lies saying how much they spend caring for these creatures and that conservation is at the very core of their business model! This is a sick joke. I have looked into how they have got away with so many things via bogus conservation arms in order to get WAZA acreditation. She is not their property, but does not have her own legal voice. You have to be her champions on the legal front. I spent three months 24/7 getting 3 hours sleep a night researching Blackstone,SeaWorld,Loro Parque and many others. They work in tandem as a cartel. Do you at a respected court in The Hague, the centre of where law has to be the finest globally.
You are dealing with something that smacks of the the tactics of the mafia - no I am not a dramatist, I have studied this chain of horror and we wont go into the rest of this tawdry (as they have no ethics) business,the cruelty of the drive hunts, and then the captive industry eminating in places, like Taiji Japan as I am attempting to write this.
Why do you think Loro Parque got there hands on her? Because Loro Parque are "accociates" of America's SeaWorld they have "loaned" Loro Parque 3 more orcas????Why would they do this!it is reciprical!
How I wish you had the done the research I have done on this industry, from THe Blackstone Group who were the lynchpin in creating an industry that has grown to such levels and now created a global furore that they were not expecting. They are now divesting themselves of their stock in a big way both with Merlin Entertainment ( who are doing their best to stop marine mammals from being kept in captivity, and wont let them perfom anymore in the the parks they inherited in their buy outs) and now Seaworld , as the world have found them out. Dr Naiomi Rose is on the Merlin Board and will attest to this.
Please dont allow yourselves to be bamboozeled by slick, crooked Wall Street lobbyists that have been paid a fortune to keep their cash "cow" in captivitiy despite their ethical responsibility to release something that does not belong to them They are not on the Forbes 400 list of billionaires for nothing.
For the record I am just someone who saw one photograph 18 months ago of the killings in Taiji which has led me a not so merry dance into finding out just how and why these atrocities are happening. Not an activist,zealot,vegan or even vegetarian. There is something called integrity, honour and honesty - these people have lost their moral compass and do not understand the meaning of anthing other than the mightly dollar. Just look up Stephen A Swartzmann on the Forbes 400 list of billionaires and see whether you think this man ( who is at the bottom of all of this, the first link in a chain) is not the figure of vulgarity in the extreme? I think was born without a pulse! Look at Southern Cross in the U. K. to see how low he will stoop. Cheating and taking money from the old and infirm! He makes for an interesting ,if not disgusting example of what you are dealing with here. Do not be duped. Smart they are ! They only know what a bottom line looks like and how to avoid losing money. It makes for very protracted interesting investigative reading! These people hopefully will go down in the anals of time as what they stand for. Please spend the time researching the links that are like an octopus that lead you to the answer of the nature of the "being" you are dealing with!
Morgan does not belong to THEM or anyone else! Sadly you dont have time to research this proplerly, please take my word for this. I can substantiate it all if I had the time again.

Bravo! Well said

Well said! Thank you.

Well said! I am hoping they open their human hearts tomorrow and let this beautiful creature live her life on her own terms. End the exploitation, end the abuse.

Well said! I am hoping they open their human hearts tomorrow and let this beautiful creature live her life on her own terms. End the exploitation, end the abuse.

Let them ALL go! They belong to the world & in the oceans!!

Give her a break god will be thankful

Why not 'kidnap' her back???

Please free Morgan make the right choice wales are animals that deserve to be in the wild . they don't belong to us

Please free morgen. Make the right choice . wales belong in the wild they don't belong to us . we don't own them . so let morgen go PLEASE

Free Morgan!!
It is never too late to do what is right.

Please free Morgan!!! she deserves to be free in the wild with her family. It's not too late, Make the right decision and let her be free. She doesn't belong in a tank or performing for people, she belongs in ocean. Please help her

Never give up fighting for animals when they live in prisons !just for human pleasure sooo wrong

Please free Morgan and let her return to her family - she needs our voices and we will fight for her till she is released - she belongs with her family. Be the change you would like the world to see - there is always hope and we should not give up on Morgan!

Free Morgan! She doesn't belong to this "amusement" park. She belongs in the wild with her family swimming in the ocean. She has suffered enough, it's not too late to do the right thing!!

She has done her time for which she had no choice. Set her free. No living breathing creature should be held captive for another living breathing creatures amusement