Bottle-feeding has resumed for the calf, although the formula is augmented by the addition of Morgan’s milk. The videos below show how this was done when another of Loro Parque’s mother orcas, Kohana, rejected her calf.
From Loro Parque (10/1/2018)
It’s now just over a week since Morgan gave birth and the entire team of carers, veterinarians, and international experts who have been monitoring the situation are delighted with the calf’s progress. The primary focus continues to be ensuring that the calf is getting all the nourishment it needs and the team has been concerned that Morgan’s milk production has been lower than required.
While natural breastfeeding is always the preferred option, nothing is more important than the wellbeing of the animals in our care – so the veterinary team has stepped in to assist at times by temporarily bottle feeding the calf.
Despite continuous attempts to help Morgan feed naturally, her milk production remains low. As a result, the only option has been to move the calf over to regular bottle feeds. Thanks to Loro Parque’s world-leading facilities and the help of the world’s top experts, we are able add the small amount of milk that Morgan is producing daily to the bottled formula feed, which is provided in a special dedicated medical pool. Using Morgan’s milk helps enrich each meal the calf receives and provides the vital antibodies that aid the development of its immune system.
Despite the challenges in breastfeeding, the bond between mother and calf continues to grow and Morgan is demonstrating exemplary maternal instincts as she swims alongside her calf at all times they are together.
We know from the many messages of support we continue to receive that many of you are closely following this news, so we will keep providing updates as and when we have new information.
It is 5:30 a.m. Pacific Time, on Monday 11/21/11, and the news has just come in from The Netherlands: the judge ruled against the young orca Morgan and she faces a life in captivity. (Morgan is a juvenile killer whale, or orca, who was found alone in Dutch waters on June 23, 2010 and has been cared for since then by the Harderwijk Dolphinarium. She must now go to Spain and live in an amusement park with SeaWorld’s whales). Within minutes Twitter and Facebook began to light up with the news :
From Free Morgan Foundation’sFacebook page:
Today is a very sad day. After a year of fighting for the rights of Morgan and other whales in the future the unbelievable verdict is: Morgan can go to Loro Parque.
“A juvenile killer whale called Morgan was found alone in Dutch waters on June 23, 2010 and has been cared for since then by the Harderwijk Dolphinarium. Now that Morgan appears to be in good health, the Free Morgan Support Group , together with a global team of experts, has presented a solid plan to return her to her native habitat. The plan was designed and endorsed by scientists and experts in orca physiology, behaviour and acoustics.” Loro Parque is trying to obtain this whale, and a decision may be made on November 7th, 2011. Please contact the Free Morgan Foundation for more information.
Spanish Loro Parque looks to be a modern zoo, and seems to go to great length to provide most species with enriched environments – that is, except for the marine mammals. Although the orca exhibit was opened in 2006, zoo designers gave these bright animals yet another featureless bathtub to call home. The zoo boasts the capacity to keep their relatively new orca tank clean and cool – but they also seems to have walked right into a time warp and built a marine mammal facility that is part 60’s circus and part SeaWorld theatrics. They keep five orcas there, on loan from SeaWorld, and are trying to get custody of the rescued orca Morgan.
In general, visitors give the zoo high marks, and most complaints are related to the prices (you can check the Trip Advisor rating here). According to Wikipedia, the other creatures on display in the park are ‘the most diverse collection of parrots in the world’, chimpanzees, gorillas, marmosets, sea lions, otters, jaguars, tigers, iguanas, alligators, giant tortoises, flamingos, pelicans, exotic fish, piranhas, sea horses, and various sharks. And all of those animals have better homes than the orcas.
This video shows both how much the trainers care for the orcas, yet how unsuitable and unnecessary it would be to send Morgan there:
Several trainers have been injured and one has died at Loro Parque because captive orcas are not safe – they suffer when their families are broken up, and they are bored by confinement.
On October 6, 2007, apprentice trainer Claudia Vollhardt was attacked and nearly drowned by Tekoa. After this attack, the trainers ceased to do waterwork for more than six months, and never again with Tekoa.
In the spring of 2009, Skyla, the youngest orca, was also excluded from waterwork after she pushed trainer Rafa Sanchez around in the pool and up against the walls with her rostrum during a show. Less than a year later, on Christmas Eve of 2009, 29-year old Alexis Martinez was crushed to death in the jaws of Keto. After spending two and a half minutes at the bottom of the 12-meter deep main pool, his body was retrieved but he was never able to be revived. He went into cardiac arrest in the ambulance on the way to BelleVue Medical Center in Puerto de la Cruz, and was pronounced dead. His funeral was held the next day, on Christmas, and his ashes were spread at Playa El Socorro at sundown. Since then, the trainers do not enter the water with any of the orcas. The park initially characterized the death as an “accident”, however the subsequent autopsy report stated that Alexis died due to grave injuries sustained by an orca attack, including multiple compression fractures, tears to vital organs, and the bitemarks of the animal on his body. During the investigation into the death of Alexis Martinez, it came to light that the park had also mischaracterized to the public the 2007 incident with Tekoa, and claimed it was also an “accident” rather than an attack. (Wikipedia)
(See bottom for update) In an unprecedented ruling, Dutch judge H. Kijlstra blocked the attempt to move the young orca Morgan to Loro Parque, a Spanish amusement park that is closely tied to SeaWorld.
He went a step further and ruled that the whale has to be moved from her small tank to a larger one where she will have dolphins as companions, in order to give her the best possible circumstances while long term decisions can be reached regarding her welfare.
Finally, he ruled that the interested parties will need to work together to come up with the best solution for the whale. Again: he ruled that the whale’s best interests are paramount, and not the interests of any and all people and amusement parks that might benefit from keeping her in captivity:
Court blocks export of rescued whale
“This is a massive victory,” said Wietse van der Werf of the Orca Coalition of Holland, an ad hoc advocacy group.
“This is the first time in history that the export of an orca has been blocked by a judge. It exposes the international trade among dolphinariums as a very lucrative industry.”
The Amsterdam District Court ruled that Morgan, a killer whale 3 or 4 years old who was due to be shipped to a Spanish amusement park, would remain in the Harderwijk Dolphinarium for now, but would be moved from her small cement tank to a larger enclosure with other animals.
The court ruled that more research be conducted to find a solution for Morgan, and ordered the dolphinarium, the government and the animal rights activists who filed the case to work together.
To find out more about Morgan and to join the remarkable international group of people working to secure Morgan’s future, please go to the Free Morgan website. They are up against the resources of wealthy institutions such as SeaWorld, and they need your help to continue to work towards Morgan’s release to the wild. Although financial contributions are always appreciated, remember that you can make a difference in other ways – writing letters, posting to your Facebook pages, holding fund raising events in your community. Just use your imagination and join in! Update 8/17/11:
“The Dolfinarium Harderwijk has ignored the judge’s directions and has done nothing towards moving Morgan into a larger enclosure,” Dr Visser said. “They have refused to release any of her health records, her DNA profile or her acoustical records which would help to get her back to her extended family. Her mental health has deteriorated a lot. She is now screaming so loud that it is ear-piercing and she is exhibiting stereotypical behaviours nearly 90 per cent of the time I was watching her.” Stereotypical behaviour is a term for frequently repeated actions typical of animals held in confined spaces with little to do.