Later this month, judges will decide on the future of Morgan the orca. Will the animal be set free or be moved to an amusement park on the island of Tenerife?
Who is Morgan?
Morgan is an orca, or killer whale, that was found swimming in the Wadden Sea, alone and starving, 16 months ago. The Dolfinarium in Hardewijk took her in and nursed her back to health.
Why can’t Morgan simply be put back into the ocean?
Orcas need to be in a pod to hunt. Morgan became detached from her family and, according to marine biologists and junior agriculture minister Henk Bleker, would not survive on her own. The Orca coalition, an organisation that wants Morgan released into the wild, claims that ‘Morgan has a very good chance of being reunited with her family’ and has more than 20 orca experts on hand to confirm this during tomorrow’s proceedings. Apparently, large groups of orcas have been identified which make a similar sound to Morgan.
What is the problem with Tenerife?
The Orca coalition says that once in Tenerife Morgan will lose any chance of ever being reunited by her family. She will be turned into a performing animal and it is doubtful whether she will be accepted by the ‘aggressive’ park orcas. In that case she would have to moved to another park. ‘It is certain that animals in these marine parks do not have a happy life’, the organisation says on its website.
Would the Dolfinarium lose one of its main attractions if Morgan goes to Spain?
Not really. Visitor numbers did not exactly soar after Morgan was brought in. If anything, the animal is costing the Dolfinarium money but says a spokesperson ‘We have been more than happy to look after Morgan because we are passionate about marine life.’ Morgan is having to swim around in rather cramped conditions, however. In Tenerife, she would have more space.
What is going to happen next?
That is up to the judge. The Dolfinarium was given an export license but was told by the court to wait six weeks. The Dolfinarium doesn’t want to wait that long. The Orca coalition meanwhile is hopeful the judge will revoke the license and be swayed by their ‘excellent release plan supported by the international orca experts.’
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