Far away, on an island chain off the coast of Africa, SeaWorld keeps five of their orcas; two males aged 16 and 10, two females aged 10 and 7, and one calf just 10 months old. The calf, Adan was born to the 10 year old female, who rejected him immediately – lacking the presence of an experienced mother (or any fully adult orca) as companion, and having been taken away from her own mother too young, this reaction did not come as a surprise. What is a surprise is that marine amusement parks keep breeding the orcas at such a tender age.
The following videos show the birth of Adan in Loro Parque and the indifference of his too young mother, Kohana, the process of getting milk from Kohana, and the bottle feeding of baby Adan in a miserable tank:
From a manuscript submitted to The Orca Project by John S. Jett (Visiting Research Professor, Stetson University email@example.com ) and Jeffrey M. Ventre (Physician New Orleans, LA firstname.lastname@example.org):
Giving birth at a young age comes with risks, including immature mothers refusing, or not knowing how, to properly nurse their calves. This is happening currently with a captive orca named Kohana, who is famous as SW’s [SeaWorld’s] second AI [artificial insemination] calf. On loan from SW to Loro Parque, she has recently given birth at eight years of age, in October of 2010. Kohana is not nursing this young orca and it is not clear whether it will survive via bottle and tube feedings. At SWF, Taima was a notoriously poor mother as well. She died from a prolapsed uterus while giving birth to her fourth calf on 6 June 2010, at the age of 20. Keep in mind that killer whale gestation is approximately 18 months in duration, and to reiterate, wild Northern Resident calves are “born at five-year intervals.”
Fathered by a transient bull named Kanduke (Dec. 9/20/1990, SWF) and an Icelandic mother Gudrun (Dec. 2/25/1996, SWF), Taima was a true hybrid, unknown in nature, being genetically half-transient and half-resident (transient and resident refer to two culturally and genetically distinct types of orcas). Was she too young at eight years of age to have Sumar (Dec. 9/7/2010, SWC)? It is known that she became very aggressive with him, and for his own protection he was shipped out of Orlando prior to his first birthday. Taima was also eventually banned from performing with trainers in the water, as she was deemed aggressive and unpredictable. As an aside, contrary to the common practice at marine parks of moving young whales to other parks and away from family, wild orcas typically spend their entire lives with family members who, among other things, assist mothers with calf-rearing...
This is the fate that awaits the young rescued orca, Morgan, which SeaWorld and Loro Parque are trying to obtain because their orcas are increasingly becoming inbred and they desperately need a fresh gene pool. Like other young female orcas in captivity, Morgan would doubtless be bred at the earliest conceivable age, and then be forced to have baby after baby, living in a concrete box her entire life.
Please support the efforts to return Morgan to the wild: FreeMorgan.nl