Last Chance to Free Morgan
My team and I recently spent a week with Dr. Ingrid Visser at the BLUE Ocean Film Festival and Conservation Summit in Monterey, CA. While most people in attendance were networking and looking to forward the general health of the oceans, Ingrid was on a focused mission to free one whale, one orca from captivity. To Free Morgan.
For those of you not familiar with the story, Morgan the Orca was captured on June 23, 2010 by the Dolphinarium Harderwijk off the north coast of the Netherlands—a rare event since no orcas have been sighted in the area since 1947. Morgan was severely underweight and in poor health. Her rescue was allowed only under the pretense that she would be rehabilitated and then returned to her native waters in the North Atlantic. A plan for Morgan’s release had been proposed which composed of a slow and monitored reintroduction back to her habitat. However, in November 2011, the Dutch authorities decided that Morgan should be transported to the Canary Islands instead of implementing any attempt for release.
Fast forward almost one year. Morgan has been languishing in Loro Parque a privately-owned entertainment park in Tenerife, Canary Islands. She is used in shows and is abused by the other orca at the park.
Many people ask, ‘Why this ONE orca?’ This is a good question. Morgan represents a new bloodline for the captive orca trade. Laws have been in place to forbid the capture of wild orcas since the early 70’s in the United States and have slowly extended to other regions around the world. Russia and Japan still hope to capture orcas from the wild but the reality of the situation is the entire population of killer whales in captivity has been dependent on breeding through their own shrinking gene pool. Morgan represents the rebirth of captive orca lineage. A new branch on their fading and obsolete family tree. She represents MANY unborn orca who will be doomed to be born in, train in, ‘entertain in’, and die in captivity. The time has come to view captivity of whales and dolphins as a part of our history – not a tragic part of our future.
This court case on November 1 will be held before three Judges in Amsterdam. They will be investigating the previous ruling made to allow Morgan’s transfer to Loro Parque in the Canary Islands, and will also look at the legality of keeping Morgan in captivity.
As stated previously, Morgan was captured on a rehabilitation and release permit and clearly she has not beenreleased. Instead, she was put on display by the Dolfinarium Harderwijk in the Netherlands, something for which they did not have a permit. The Dolfinarium Harderwijk have violated their permit, and Morgan’s transport permit has been violated by Loro Parque.
Morgan’s future hangs in the balance at this court hearing. Ingrid refuses to take no for an answer. The Free Morgan Group refuses to take no for an answer. I refuse to take no for an answer. And most importantly, YOU should refuse take no for an answer! There is greatness in numbers.
Ingrid and I, along with many orca experts will be at the court case in Amsterdam on November 1 in a show of solidarity for Morgan! I invite you to join us. If you can travel to Amsterdam please visit here for information. If you can not join us in person at the court case, please be there in spirit and add your voice to our petition! I will personally bring the list of names gathered on our website.
I know there are many issues competing for our attention now, but there are only moments until Morgan’s court case. The countdown to the determination of her fate is ticking. The time is NOW to act. - Jean-Michel Cousteau