Morgan, witness report, again

VIDEO: Morgan Shows What’s Wrong With CaptivityM

May 26, 2016

A recent video from the anonymous “Morgan Monitors” at Loro Parque in Tenerife, Spain, shows Morgan fully out of the water, and on the concrete slide-out. Morgan Monitors reports that after the final show of the day had ended, Morgan suddenly slid onto the slide-out, remaining there for a witnessed 10 minutes – and maybe longer.

While we cannot explain the reason for her behavior, the juxtaposition of a previously-wild orca against the stark backdrop of the park’s performance area is unsettling, to say the least.

Some people took selfies with Morgan in the background. Sadly, Morgan was still out of the water by the time the videographers had to leave.






Marine Park Under Fire After Video Shows Captive Orca Banging Its Head Against A Gate

3:29 PM EDT, May 4, 2016

Animal activists are outraged over a video they say shows a killer whale in captivity banging its head against a gate.

Last week, the Dolphin Project released video of what they say depicts an orca “panicking.” The footage was taken by an anonymous visitor at Loro Parque, a top tourist attraction in Tenerife, Spain.

It shows Morgan the killer whale, who is owned by SeaWorld, inside a medical tank where she forcefully hits the barrier that separates her and a larger tank that normally houses the orcas.

According to the Dolphin Project, “the orca is obviously in huge distress and rams its head forcefully against the metal gate in what seems to be an attempt to escape… This video shows the amount of stress and cruelty imposed on orcas as a result of confinement to small, barren tanks.”

Loro Parque told in a statement that the Dolphin Project’s interpretation of the video is incorrect, and an “attempt at manipulation through exaggeration and dramatization of a completely normal situation in which there is no problem for the animals.”

It added that Morgan, who is a wild-born killer whale from the Netherlands, was simply trying to reach the male killer whale Tekoa, who was in the larger tank. The zoo wrote that Morgan was not acting in “panic” but out of “sexual frustration.”

While the sounds of her banging against the tank might be disconcerting, Loro Parque stated that any mammal as heavy as Morgan, who weighs 2,200 kilograms, would cause a ruckus by pushing against the tank.

Dr. Naomi Rose, a marine mammal scientist at the Animal Welfare Institute, called the zoo’s claim that Morgan was acting out of sexual frustration “disgusting,” and says the claim is “completely unsupported by an understanding of orca behavioral biology,” she told

Instead, she believes that Morgan might have been acting out of frustration due to being in captivity. “Everything you see in that video is ‘I want out,'” she said. “The whale banging her head on the gate suggested frustration. I’m sure it hurts — she was acting in a self-harming way, out of frustration.”

“She probably knows she can’t get out just by banging her head on the gate — they are smart like that,” Dr. Rose continued, comparing leaving Morgan in the tank to trapping a human being in a closet. “She’s probably doing it because she’s got no other outlet for that frustration.”

But she said she also disagrees with the Dolphin Project’s finding that Morgan is “panicking,” calling it an “over interpretation.”

“If the whale was panicking, there would be more white water and splashing,” Rose said. “You don’t really see that. You see ‘bang bang.’ It’s very directed.”

In a press statement to, Seaworld, which owns the killer whales at Loro Park responded: “The animals are cared for and trained by Loro Parque’s zoological team. We consult regularly with them on veterinary care, husbandry and training, and have enjoyed a long association with them on conservation programs, animal rescue and scientific research.”


Heartbreaking Truth Behind Video of Captive Orca, Morgan, Smashing Her Head Against Tank

April 28, 2016

“Monday left me broken, Tuesday I was through with hoping…”

The lyrics from Avicii’s “Waiting for Love” can be heard playing over the Orca Ocean stadium speakers at Loro Parque as a young orca bashes her head, over and over again, off the gates of her tiny tank. The song is loud to entertain the paying tourists, but it is not loud enough to drown out the sound of skull smashing off of metal or the orca’s frantic screeches.

This disturbing behavior was witnessed earlier this month at the entertainment park in Tenerife, Spain, which is one of only two parks in the European Union still keeping orcas captive. Loro Parque currently has six orcas, five of which are on loan from SeaWorld, USA. As such, they are included in SeaWorld’s recent decision to ban its orcas from breeding.

The sixth orca, known as Morgan, was born in the wild. In June 2010, she was found swimming alone and emaciated off the Dutch coast and taken to the Dolfinarium Harderwijk in the Netherlands for rehabilitation and release. Instead of being returned back to her native Norwegian waters, Morgan was sent to Loro Parque. Just today, Loro Parque announced that the orca hurtling herself at the tank gates in the video is Morgan.

But why would Morgan – or any orca – do this? Margaux Dodds, Marine Connection Director and Campaigns Coordinator for the Dolphinaria-Free Europe coalition, is deeply concerned for Morgan’s welfare: “She is confined in what looks like a medical tank showing signs of either frustration at being confined or aggression towards the orca on the other side of the gate.” The medical tank at Loro Parque is only 12.4x7x4.2m, while Morgan is more than 4m long and some of the other orcas are even bigger.

Why Morgan was locked inside Loro Parque’s smallest orca tank has not been disclosed, but Loro Parque has claimed that “all we see [in the video] is that Morgan wants to open the door to… be with Tekoa.” Tekoa is the other orca visible in the video and he was one of the original captive-born orcas transported from SeaWorld to Loro Parque in 2006.

As well as calling the video a “manipulation” that is part of a “smear campaign,” Loro Parque asserted that its own veterinarians, as well as visiting veterinary and animal welfare professionals, have found that its captive orcas are not stressed. However, in the same statement, Loro Parque blamed “sexual frustration” as the cause of Morgan’s behavior. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, an animal’s welfare cannot be protected if its needs are frustrated.

Loro Parque has also confirmed that the banging heard in the video is the sound of Morgan “pushing strongly” at the gate, which she appears to be doing with her head.

“Head banging” is frequently observed in captive orcas and has been identified as a stereotypic (abnormal repetitive) behavior born out of frustration and stress. When these stereotypic behaviors cause self-inflicted physical harm, it is known as self-mutilation. A report by orca expert Dr. Ingrid Visser, who co-founded the Free Morgan Foundation, details how at least one orca at Loro Parque has been self-mutilating – that orca is Morgan.

The report also documented aggression between the orcas at Loro Parque, who are considered to be the most dysfunctional group of captive orcas in the world. The constructed artificial environments of captivity exacerbate conflict between orcas as there is nowhere to escape. However, if Morgan was displaying aggressive behavior, it may not have been aimed at Tekoa.

John Hargrove, a former SeaWorld orca trainer and supervisor of orca training at Marineland Antibes, has analyzed the video and found that, “It is unlikely that the orcas in the video are trying to displace each other as Tekoa does not appear to be vocalizing or ramming the gate back. The vocalizations that you can hear from Morgan, however, are very distinct in their sound and are indicative of a highly upset and aggressive whale; not a whale who is panicked or otherwise.”

Reinforcing the fact that head banging often results in self-inflicted physical injuries, Hargrove explained, “Slamming or ramming gates this hard is common with captive orcas and can lead to injury by fracturing their teeth, knocking out a tooth altogether and causing gashes and cuts to the animal’s rostrum. In extreme cases, it can completely slice the tip of the rostrum off, requiring weeks to heal.” Hargrove added, “It is also certainly possible that this behavior can cause hemorrhaging and ultimately death.”

Hargrove recounted how other captive orcas have died from ramming their heads into the sides of tanks and ramming each other. “You must realize that the force at which Morgan is slamming her head into the steel bars is comparable to if she were slamming her head with unbelievable force into concrete,” Hargrove described, noting that it’s subsequently “Not hard to understand how serious and dangerous this behavior is – and it is related to captivity.”

Given the severity of Morgan’s situation, Dodds believes that SeaWorld, the entertainment park claiming ownership of Morgan, should be obliged to give “an explanation as to why she was confined in the medical tank in the first place.” And this would be especially welcome in light of Loro Parque’s comment that the video shows “a completely normal situation in which there is no problem for the animals.”

At this time, it remains unclear why Loro Parque made the decision on that day, at that time, to put Morgan in the medical tank. The blaring music might suggest that she was locked inside while some of the other orcas performed tricks in an entertainment show for the public; this has previously happened to Keto, the large male who killed his trainer.

Or perhaps there was another motivation. The current unrest between Loro Parque and SeaWorld may have factored into Loro Parque’s decision. The Spanish entertainment park has made it crystal clear that it opposes SeaWorld’s decision to end the orca breeding program, claiming that the “permanent prevention of the reproduction of wild animals under human care is an action that goes against the very cycle of life and well-being of the animals.”

Despite this statement, Loro Parque does not appear to consider that the permanent prevention of the freedom and choice of the wild animals under its human care is an action that also goes against the very cycle of life and well-being of the animals – that the orcas have other needs and those needs are frustrated in captivity.

Evidence of this is apparent in the horrific video of Morgan crying, thrashing and beating her head against the tank gates as pop music fills the air around her.

Now that SeaWorld has stopped breeding its orcas, the fate of the orcas at Loro Parque, and particularly Morgan, seems uncertain. And it will remain this way until SeaWorld and Loro Parque release further information. In the meantime, let’s just hope Avicii’s words ring true – that there is, “In every lost soul, the bones of a miracle.”



Loro Parque responds to video posted on

April 27, 2016

The following was translated and reposted from Loro Parque’s blog

The video published by The Dolphin Project on their website is a new attempt at manipulation through exaggeration and dramatization of a completely normal situation and that is no problem for animals.

In the video shown Morgan (within the medical pool) and Tekoa in the pool B interacting through the door. The interpretation that Morgan is suffering a panic attack is completely incorrect and malicious, all we see is that Morgan wants to open the door to access the pool B and be with Tekoa. When any of these animals (Morgan now exceeds 2,200 kg and 2,700 kg Tekoa’s) push the door shut produce punches heard in the video.

The interpretation of a panic attack is completely ridiculous, orcas are trained daily to enter and remain quiet within medical pools, since it is an essential element for veterinarians to make routine examinations of animals or treat them when some of they are sick. In the same way a spider dog a door when you enter another room, orcas push the doors when they want access to another pool. It is surprising that advocates to end breeding in human care orcas be offended because of these images, precisely because sexual frustration at not being able to access the pool where orcas of the opposite sex to copulate can trigger this type of behavior.

Increasingly, some self-proclaimed animal rights organizations are dedicated to launch these smear campaigns without any proven information based on the welfare and health of animals. Loro Parque orcas are under the care of our team of veterinarians, and receive regularly visited by veterinary experts of cetaceans and medicine inspection by the competent authorities in animal welfare. None of these professionals has found that stress and cruelty allegations are true. There is no doubt that the interest of the organizations conducting these public defamation campaigns is simply to get donations, but not for the welfare of the animals, but for their own welfare and benefit.
In the last 22 years thanks to the work of a zoo internationally recognized for its quality as Loro Parque has been possible to invest more than 16 million dollars in the conservation of endangered species on our planet. The most important success of this work was to get two parrot species critically endangered, and help many others to increase their small populations and not disappear forever. What are the achievements of The Dolphin Project in the conservation of biodiversity? How much money have invested in the conservation of the most endangered species? How many species have been saved? The terrible paradox is that not only have not helped to preserve nature, but aim to destroy those who work daily to save species from extinction. How can then call themselves animal lovers?

Source: Loro Parque Blog

I happen to agree with Loro Parque when they say that Morgan wasn’t panicking. To me it looks like she is frustrated at not having access to Tekoa.

The question becomes why was she denied access to Tekoa. If it was because she had been kept away from Tekoa. If it is due to aggression or something of that nature the separation is understandable but still concerning. She is hitting the gate loud enough to be audible from across the complex.

If not to protect Tekoa from Morgan why put Morgan in a situation where she would do bodily harm to herself? Loro Parque’s post itself states that this behavior is “common place.” How is it not a priority for Loro Parque to do everything they can to stop Morgan’s self destructive behavior. Put her with Tekoa.

The park claims the separation is the result of the breeding ban that SeaWorld has self imposed and then goes on to blame activists for the move. There are chemical methods to keep orca from conceiving (look in Beneath the Surface), it’s bad animal welfare to remove and isolate Morgan under the false excuse of preventing pregnancy.


April 26, 2016

Is This Morgan?

Shot by an anonymous activist, this new, shocking footage shows one of the orcas at Loro Parque, a zoo located in Tenerife, Spain, panicking in a small medical pool.

The orca is obviously in huge distress and rams its head forcefully against the metal gate in what seems to be an attempt to escape. Loro Parque is the largest tourist attraction in Spain. SeaWorld owns all six orcas at the park, including Morgan who was captured off the coast of the Netherlands in June of 2010. The orcas at Loro Parque are trained to perform for food several times a day in front of large, cheering audiences. This video shows the amount of stress and cruelty imposed on orcas as a result of confinement to small, barren tanks.

Ric and I traveled to Loro Parque last year to carry out an investigation of Loro Parque’s orca display, which ironically, is called “Orca Ocean.” We were shocked at the poor living conditions and commercial exploitation of the orcas and bottlenose dolphins there.

Click the link below to watch the video of the incident on Dolphin


Twitter later identified Morgan as the orca in the med pool and Tekoa on the other side of the gate.

Personally to me it doesn’t look as though Morgan is panicking in the med pool but rather that she wants access to Tekoa and is frustrated that she can’t reach him. The question for me is if she wanted companionship or wanted to start an aggressive incident with him.

How SeaWorld, Humane Society united

April 1, 2016

It hardly seemed like a match made in heaven. But after Joel Manby took over asSeaWorld Entertainment‘s chief executive officer last year, a friend suggested he meet with Wayne Pacelle, head of Humane Society of the United States.

“I just kind of thought they would mesh,” said former congressman John Campbell, who got the two talking, in an interview Thursday.

It looks like he was right. Last month, Manby and Pacelle appeared on television together to announce SeaWorld’s landmark decision to stop breeding killer whales.

While he was the Republican co-chair of the Congressional animal-protection caucus, Campbell had gotten to know Pacelle. Campbell knew Manby from when they both worked in the auto industry.

A three-way conference call happened in June. It took a while for anything to come of the discussions, though.

“The problem, frankly… was a lot of people at the Humane Society were telling Wayne, ‘You can’t trust SeaWorld,’ and a lot of people at SeaWorld were telling Joel, ‘You can’t trust the Humane Society,'” Campbell said. “The biggest issue for each of them, I think, was to overcome that feeling within their organization of, `Just don’t go down this road; it will be nothing but pain and ugliness, and so forth.'”

In fact, Pacelle had written a chapter critical of SeaWorld for a new book that will be published this month. He has since written a postscript praising Manby for the recent changes.

Pacelle said one issue he and Manby discussed in the beginning was backing off attempts to acquire a group of wild-captured Russian beluga whales. SeaWorld was part of a consortium led by the Georgia Aquarium trying to obtain the whales. “I told him early on, `You’ve got to disassociate yourself. You cannot be involved with that,'” Pacelle said. SeaWorld in September said it would not accept any of the belugas. “The discussions just kind of picked up speed from there,” Pacelle said.

Manby was not available for an interview. A SeaWorld spokeswoman said the company arrived at its decision independently, not as a result of conversations with Pacelle. The aquarium lost its legal battle to acquire the belugas shortly after SeaWorld pulled out.

In early December, the three men dined together at a Washington D.C. Wolfgang Puck restaurant.

“I think at that point, at that dinner, they both learned they could work together and could trust one another,” Campbell said.

At dinner, Campbell said, the two were able to craft the beginning of the agreement that was announced in March. SeaWorld’s end to orca breeding was the big change. But there are other commitments too. SeaWorld will advocate for an end to commercial whaling and sealing and to fight shark finning. It also will source only sustainably raised seafood, crate-free pork and cage-free eggs, and it will offer more vegan and vegetarian options at its restaurants.

SeaWorld CEO talks online with park’s fans

Manby got in front of a webcam Wednesday to chat with some of SeaWorld’s biggest fans about the big changes at his company.

People on SeaWorld’s email list got an invitation to the event, in which they could submit questions via email.

Deciding to end killer-whale breeding, Manby said, was the toughest decision he’s ever made in business.

But society was shifting, with more people opposed to orcas in captivity. “That trend didn’t seem to be abating,” he said. “It was even worse when you looked at the younger generation coming up, like the Millennials. The data was even worse.” Efforts to legislate SeaWorld were also worrying the company, he said. “We were quite certain that in California, legislation would come against us,” he said, with the potential to spread east.

Universal redesigns its site for travel agents

Universal Orlando has launched a newly designed travel-agent website, which it says will help the resort grow its partnership with them. features a new design and added benefits for travel agents. One of the highlights includes a comprehensive online training program that allows agents to become certified Universal Orlando Resort Specialists. The self-paced, online program offers an in-depth look at Universal. Other benefits include an online ordering system featuring the latest marketing materials and sales collateral for agents to use in-office or to share with clients. Universal has certified travel agents before. “But we have enhanced the process, taking the amount of information and content to new levels, allowing agents to come away with a much deeper understanding of the Universal experience,” spokesman Tom Schroder said in an email. or 407-420-5240

Source: Orlando Sentinel