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.
Loro Parque now has five orcas that belonged to SeaWorld, along with the Dutch orca Morgan – who SeaWorld bizarrely claimed to own before turning the lot over to this Spanish amusement park. Eventually it was determined that Morgan lost her hearing along the way (it is unknown if she was deaf when stranded or became deaf later) and after a spat with SeaWorld, Loro Parque bred her. (For background on this farce, please see Orca whale Morgan’s fate follows the golden rule: those who have the gold make the rules.)
At this writing, nothing more is known about the calf, or whether a “deaf”, young, mother whale will be able to communicate with the infant. Watch this space for updates.
UPDATE September 24th: From Loro Parque –
The first days in the life of a cetacean are critical and we have all been encouraged by Morgan’s strong maternal instincts and the way she is nurturing and taking care of her calf. Establishing breastfeeding is crucial in this early phase and our team of veterinarians and external consultants are closely monitoring both mother and calf to see that this happens.
Over the first 24 hours Morgan’s milk production has been lower than we would like, meaning it may be necessary to introduce bottle feeding to ensure that the calf is getting the nourishment it needs. We sincerely hope that nature can take its course and that Morgan can feed her calf independently.
However, we are watching the situation carefully and will assist with bottle feeding, if the experts consider that the life of the calf is at risk.
We wish to take this opportunity to say thank you for all the kind messages we have received from all over the world as we celebrate the birth of Morgan’s calf. We will continue to provide updates as they enjoy their first days together.
In his excellent article, Blood in the Water, author Tim Zimmermann gives a thorough and engaging account of the events that led to the death of a trainer by one of SeaWorld’s whales, Keto, in Spain’s Loro Parque amusement park. In the telling of the story, Zimmermann shows that Loro Parque’s orcas were shipped from SeaWorld’s Texas and Florida amusement parks in 2006 to ‘help it [Loro Parque] start Orca Ocean’ and to ‘showcase these remarkable animals’.
Loro Parque’s announcement about the birth:
Loro Parque has good news to share: the orca Morgan that was rescued after being found near dead near the coast of the Wadden Sea in the Netherlands and that forms part of our group of orcas, gave birth to her first calf this morning, which finds itself in a perfect state of health. From the very first moment, Morgan demonstrated to be an exemplary mother attending to her newborn, which is swimming next to its mother in the installations of the ‘OrcaOcean’.
The orca Morgan was rescued at the coast of the Wadden Sea in 2010 and was attended by a team of experts of the Harderwijk Dolphinarium in an effort to help the lost animal, which showed such a severe malnutrition that the animal was only skin and bones. In this moment, Morgan only weighed 430 Kg and the keepers of the Dutch dolphinarium were not sure that the animal was going to survive the first night after its rescue. They, however, were hopeful that with a proper level of care, affection and attention of the care givers, as well as with the adequate nutrition, the animal could make a recovery.
Thanks to all these efforts of the team at Harderwijk, the animal began to recover its weight and strength, and as the Harderwijk installations were not prepared to keep orcas, the Dutch authorities initiated a formal commission to determine the future of the orca Morgan. A group of international and independent experts came to the conclusion that there were only two viable alternatives for the animal: euthanasia or to be kept at an installation of an aquarium that complied with the necessary conditions for this animal species.
At this moment, as Loro Parque had the most modern installations for orcas in existence, the Park was contacted to see if it would accept the animal. Despite all the challenges that this request represented, Loro Parque accepted the petition, thus, avoiding the only other alternative that was left for the animal: the euthanasia.
After a few months at our installations, the orca Morgan adapted to the new conditions and integrated perfectly into the existing group of orcas at Loro Parque. At the same time, it was discovered that the orca suffered a severe hearing deficiency, which was yet another argument to confirm that animal was incapable to survive on her own in nature.
Given this last circumstance, there were a number of questions as to what exactly a delivery would imply for the animal without a hearing capacity. Today, Loro Parque would like to share the great news: the delivery went in a completely normal manner and the first hours after the birth have been developing in accordance with the best expectations.
It is impossible to know the gender of the new calf yet, although the most important issue now is that both, the mother and the calf, find themselves in a perfect state of health. Loro Parque will be informing the public about the development of the situation, and would like to take this opportunity to thank all its visitors from many different parts of the world, the tour operators and all the collaborators in the scientific field for all the support to the Loro Parque mission: to protect and conserve animals and their natural habitats for future generations.
Unfortunately J50 has not been seen in several days of favorable conditions and sightings of her pod and family group, including J16, her mother.
Teams were on the water searching yesterday and are increasing a broad transboundary search today with our on-water partners and counterparts in Canada.
We have alerted the West Coast Marine Mammal Stranding Network, which is a tremendous resource in such situations.
Airlines flying in and out of the San Juan Islands are also on the lookout.
We greatly appreciate all the help and concern. The hotline for stranding reports is 1-866-767-6114.
Further updates at bit.ly/NOAAJ50J35.
This announcement by NOAA, DFO Canada, and their team gives us hope that not only are they doing everything possible to save J 50 (Scarlet), but whatever actions they take will be in the best interest of both her health and her family ties.
The scientists don’t have much time to act, yet they want the public to understand what it will take to help this naturally lively whale who is so imbued with character and once had energy to spare, and whose survival may be key in the restoration of the Southern Resident killer whale population.
NOAA has arranged two public meetings in Washington State for next weekend (September 15th and 16th), but if you can’t attend, any live streams, audios, or reports will be updated here.
UPDATE from NOAA: September 11, 2018
J50’s condition in recent weeks has underscored the urgency of recovering the endangered Southern Resident killer whale population. NOAA Fisheries and our partners have been exploring and taking action to save J50 because of her importance as a contributing member of this population, and particularly to J Pod.
The public has a stake in the J50 response and the recovery of Southern Resident killer whales and we understand many people are concerned. We want to know what people in the region think about this effort and potential steps so we are holding two public meetings in Washington State to hear the public’s views:
Saturday, Sept. 15, at 7 p.m. in Friday Harbor at Friday Harbor High School
Sunday, Sept. 16, at 1 p.m. in Seattle at University of Washington, Haggett Hall Cascade Room
J50’s condition has declined over recent months to the point where she is emaciated and often lagging behind her family. Field treatment has not improved her condition, and veterinarians believe they have exhausted all reasonable remote treatment options and her survival is unlikely.
The next steps could include further intervention, such as a rescue operation and conducting a hands-on physical examination. That could lead to more in-depth diagnoses, rapid treatment, and return to the water or short-term rehabilitation and care to improve her chances of survival, with the ultimate goal of reuniting her with her family.
Two objectives will determine any further intervention to help J50:
providing appropriate conservation medical actions for J50 to protect her potential contribution to the recovery of the population, and
avoiding harm to the rest of J Pod and the Southern Resident population of 75 whales.
No rescue would proceed while J50 remains with J Pod and her family group. Response teams would act to rescue J50 only if she becomes stranded or separated from the rest of J Pod such that any risks of the intervention to the rest of J Pod are minimized.
The overriding priority of any rescue intervention would be to evaluate, treat, and rehabilitate J50 in a manner that would support the greatest chance of her survival while ensuring her return and reunification with her family as soon as possible so she can contribute to long-term recovery of the population.
If veterinarians and other experts who assess J50 in the field determine that she cannot be treated or rehabilitated, teams would promptly return her to J Pod to spend the rest of her life with her family.
Biologists believe that Scarlet (J 50) may have a round worm infection, similar to what another wild calf, Springer (A 73) had when she was found lost in the Puget Sound in 2002. The good news is that Springer was successfully treated and returned to her family of Northern Resident orcas, where she has thrived and has had two calves – hopefully Scarlet will have a similar outcome.
#J50/Scarlet Update (8/17): Test results from the health samples collected from J50/Scarlet are starting to come in from several top laboratories around the country. The first finding comes from a fecal sample collected last weekend from a group of three J Pod whales: J16/Slick, J42/Echo, and J50/Scarlet. It showed moderate levels of Contracaecum, a nematode parasite that has previously been found in killer whales and other marine mammals. The worm is not usually a problem in healthy animals. However, in animals that are emaciated or are otherwise compromised, the parasite can penetrate the stomach lining, introducing bacterial infection to the bloodstream, or it can bore into internal organs. While we cannot be sure the sample came from J50/Scarlet, the veterinary team has updated her treatment priorities to include a dewormer, in addition to an antibiotic. Both have proven successful and safe in other cetaceans. The treatment should help J50/Scarlet by reducing bacterial and parasitic burdens on her system so she can start regaining the weight she has lost. The whales remain in open waters off the west side of Vancouver Island, beyond the reach of the response teams. Fisheries and Oceans Canada and other partners continue their watch for signs of J Pod’s return to the more protected waters of the Salish Sea. ” [Media release].
For the first time ever, a wild orca has been administered medication via darting. Canadian and US biologists cooperated to locate and treat the three and a half year old calf, J50 (Scarlet) who is dangerously thin.
Kudos to all for the international effort.
From NOAA Fisheries West Coast: August 9: Response teams reached J Pod in Canadian waters and followed them into U.S. waters near San Juan Island.
While very skinny and small, J50 / Scarlet kept up well with her mother and siblings.
Vancouver Aquarium’s veterinarian and the team conducted a visual assessment, obtained a breath sample that will help assess any infection, and administered antibiotics through a dart. Next steps are to continue observations and consider trial feeding as a future route for delivering medications.
On Wednesday (August 1st) three whale watching boats off the coast of Portugal happened upon a killer whale calf that they thought was spyhopping repeatedly. As they drew closer however they discovered that the calf was entangled in a fishing net and was barely able to raise its head to breathe.
In a Facebook post, SeaXplorer Sagres reported that the mother was nearby but could only watch as her calf struggled against the grasp of the netting that ensnared the young whale. The people on the boats were determined to help, but the first attempts to cut the calf free were fruitless, raising the emotions even higher.
When emotions run high there is a tendency to act without forethought – but these seasoned crews took the time to assess the entanglement, then developed a successful plan.
One of the boats threw their anchor out, then circled the calf several times until the anchor line wrapped around the net’s line. The crew and some of the passengers then pulled up the anchor and attached net until finally there was just the rope around the calf’s tail fluke.
When the line was cut the freed calf rejoined it’s mother and everyone rejoiced – and people everywhere share in celebrating the actions by these quick acting, yet thoughtful, whale watching crews.
When Fisheries tried to lure Luna into a netted pen, people watched him push the boat into the pen instead.
On its surface, Luna’s story is about an impish lost killer whale and the people who cared deeply about his welfare, yet the deeper message it delivers is that we can – and maybe should – have an entirely different relationship with the social and intelligent animals that share our world.
He was a whale who showed us that he ‘got’ us, who found eye contact with us invaluable and refused the dead fish (along with some snacks and fruit) offered to him:
Was Luna fed by humans when he lived in Nootka Sound?
People sure tried to give him goodies. They threw him chocolate and oranges. Even vegetables. He spit out anything he couldn’t play with.
Fisherman would sometimes toss Luna dead fish from their fishing lines, and he’d carry them around, sticking out the side of his mouth like cigars. But he didn’t seem to eat them. He was wild, and he clearly preferred hunting for live fish.
That’s what made his efforts to make contact with us so unusual. It wasn’t for food, so why did he do it? The only answer that seems to make sense is that without his family around he was, in some way different but perhaps in some way the same as us, lonely. Somehow maybe he thought we could be friends. And a lot of people thought the same thing. The Whale
Groups and individuals clashed or coalesced in an effort to do the right thing for the lost young whale, and government officials tried their best to do what they thought was right as they weighed risks for everyone.
The more Luna was ignored the more he amused himself with boats and seaplanes or whatever else caught his attention, and by time the government decided to net him and transport him back to his home waters he seemed to think it was a game.
In the years since Luna came to live and play among the people in Nootka Sound, his whole clan – the Southern Resident orcas – has struggled to survive. Recently Crewser (L 92) disappeared, and the Center for Whale Research now reports that four-year-old Scarlet (J 50) is very thin and may not survive. Their situation is growing desperate.
We’re running out of time to help these precious whales, and if they abandon the region or go extinct they will take their culture with them, a culture that includes an interest in the humans that share their waterways.
The video below recounts Luna’s adventures, and was made by The Whale filmmakers prior to the final version. (25 minutes).
[hdnfactbox title=”More About Luna”] September 19, 1999: Luna is first seen with his mother, Splash (L 67) only hours after being born and is given the number L 98.
In a highly unusual situation, Luna is then seen with Kiska (K 18) who had recently given birth to a stillborn, and for a period of weeks alternates between the two females, possibly nursed by both. It is unknown if this situation is related to his eventually becoming lost, since K pod and L pod don’t always forage together. (Center for Whale Research). In 2001: Luna failed to return with his family and is thought to have died. A lone orca calf is discovered in Nootka Sound, and is identified as Luna, although this isn’t publicly announced.
This news must be heartbreaking for those who spent almost two years in waiting for and caring for Kyara, SeaWorld’s last captive bred baby whale. No matter what your views on captivity, the whales require an enormous amount of daily care by people who are genuinely dedicated and concerned about their welfare and those people deserve acknowledgement for the difficult time they must be going through.
In SeaWorld’s statement below it is reported that Kyara’s family is already back to normal, which implies either the whales don’t know that the calf is dead or that she was dead to them once she was taken away for treatment – either way, it has to been difficult for the calf’s family.
Whales and dolphins have been shown to need time to grieve (Adult Male Pilot Whale Carries Dead Calf; Cetaceans Need Time To Grieve) and I hope the calf’s family was given time with her body even though it is not traditionally done in captivity. Wild orca mothers have shown what is interpreted as mourning (Mother Orca And Her Dead Calf: A Mother’s Grief? ) so it is logical to think that this would be true in captivity as well.
Be that as it may, SeaWorld has been relatively forthcoming and has given a somewhat detailed report on Kyara’s death – in the past they would have covered up or clammed up entirely. It’s progress.
July 24, 2017
This weekend Kyara, the 3-month-old killer whale calf at SeaWorld San Antonio, was being treated at the park’s Animal Hospital for an infection. The dedicated team of veterinarians and care staff spent the last three days providing critical care for Kyara, but despite their best efforts, her health continued to decline and she passed away earlier today.
She was surrounded by the dedicated teams that cared for her over the last three months and fought tirelessly for her over the last several days.
Julie, just one of the orca trainers that spent countless hours caring for the San Antonio orca pod, including many nights with the calf, said “Kyara had a tremendous impact on each of her care staff, not to mention all of the guests that had the chance to see her. From late nights to early morning, rain or shine, we dedicate our lives to these animals, and this loss will be felt throughout the entire SeaWorld family.”
The team’s attention now turns to the rest of the orca pod, especially Takara, to provide the care and attention they need. The veterinary team will conduct a full post mortem examination to determine the cause of death. It may take several weeks before results are finalized.The global SeaWorld team is united in support of our San Antonio family as they go through this extremely difficult time. Question & Answer: When did Kyara die? Kyara passed away early today, July 24, surrounded by the dedicated SeaWorld staff that not only cared for her for the last several months, as well as the staff that fought tireless to save her life over the last several days. How did Kyara die? Kyara had faced some very serious and progressive health issues over the last week that the animal care and veterinary teams had been aggressively treating. While the official cause of death will not be determined until the post-mortem exam is complete, we know that Kyara had an infection, likely pneumonia, and that her health continued to decline. When was Kyara born? Kyara was born in April to mom Takara at SeaWorld San Antonio. Do you know what illness she had? While the official cause of death won’t be determined until the post-mortem exam is complete, through monitoring Kyara’s behavior, and a physical examination, SeaWorld’s veterinary and animal care teams identified that she had an infection, likely pneumonia, that they were aggressively treating. Pneumonia has been identified as one of the most common causes of morbidity or illness in whales and dolphins, both in the wild and in aquariums. Why did you remove Kyara from her mom? Our primary concern was the health of Kyara. The expert veterinary and animal care teams made the decision to bring Kyara to the husbandry pool at the Animal Hospital to ensure she received the necessary hydration and treatment. Additionally, Kyara had not been receiving the daily nutrition that she needed, so the teams supplemented that nutrition through hand-feeding multiple times each day. How were you treating her? What medications was she receiving?
Kyara was under 24-hr care and watch at the animal hospital at SeaWorld San Antonio. In addition to monitoring her 24/7, the expert veterinary staff was treating her with antimicrobials, including antibiotics, for any infections she was fighting. Additionally, the team was hand-feeding her in an effort to ensure she received the nutrition she needed. How is her mom, Takara, and the rest of the pod doing?
Takara’s behavior was back to normal by the end of the weekend. Additionally, the rest of the pod is responding well and behaving normally. While the loss of Kyara is heartbreaking for the animal care, veterinary and training teams, as well as the entire SeaWorld family, our focus is now on continuing the care of the rest of the orca pod back at Shamu Stadium. Is there any chance other killer whales will get this illness? No other members of the SeaWorld San Antonio orca pod are showing any signs of illness, but they continued to be monitored and cared for by SeaWorld’s expert veterinary and animal care teams. How will this impact the killer whale shows? The One Ocean shows at SeaWorld San Antonio will be cancelled for the rest of the day, July 24. Guests should check the SeaWorldSanAntonio.com website, or with Guest Services, for scheduling for thre rest of the week. Was this caused by being in captivity? No, Kyara’s pneumonia has been identified as the most common cause of mortality and illness in whales in dolphins, both in the wild and in zoological facilities. Will you make the results of the necropsy public? Post mortem exams are detailed clinical investigations that include a good deal of laboratory testing. We will provide an update on SeaWorldCares.com as soon as the full results have come back.
ORPHAN ORCA SPRINGER GIVES BIRTH TO SECOND CALF
The heroic rescue in Puget Sound fifteen years ago of the orphaned orca Springer (A-73) and her return home 300 miles north to Johnstone Strait will be celebrated July 21-23 at Telegraph Cove, British Columbia.
“Fifteen and half years ago Springer was orphaned, 300 miles from home, starving, sick and completely alone,” said Dr. Lance Barrett-Lennard, director of the Cetacean Research Program at Ocean Wise. “Her rescue, relocation, reunification with relatives and transition to motherhood is an incredible story. I see it as testimony to both the resiliency of killer whales as a species and to the wonderful things we humans can do when we work together on behalf of — rather than against — nature.” Fifteen years later, Springer is still healthy and now has given birth to her second calf. The new baby was first spotted by CetaceaLab on BC’s north central coast on June 5th and confirmed by a Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) research survey. Springer’s first calf, Spirit, was born in 2013.
“Springer’s story is an inspiration on many levels,” said Paul Spong of OrcaLab. “It proved that an orphan orca, alone and separated from her family, can be rehabilitated and returned to a normal productive life with her family and community; and it showed that disparate parties with diverse interests can come together and work together for the common goal of helping one little whale.”
“Celebrate Springer!” brings together the 2002 rescue team to give first-hand accounts of how Springer was identified, rescued and rehabilitated. She was taken by jet catamaran to the north end of Vancouver Island and reunited with her Northern Resident family.
“We can hardly believe it has been 15 years since Springer was reunited with her family. We encourage everyone to come and celebrate this milestone with us at the Whale Interpretive Centre in Telegraph Cove,” said Mary Borrowman, director of the Center. “The most exciting news is the confirmation that Springer has had another calf and we hope we will be fortunate enough to see this famous mother with her family this summer.”
The public is invited to Telegraph Cove at 11 AM on July 22 to hear “Springer’s Story,” a slide show narration by members of Springer’s rescue team, followed by a panel discussion.
At 4 PM, the new Telegraph Cove Whale Trail sign will be dedicated.
At 5:30 PM, the public is invited to join in for a salmon dinner on the Boardwalk.
“The Springer success story continues to be an inspiration for all of us working on conservation in the Salish Sea,” said Lynne Barre, the lead for orca recovery at NOAA Fisheries’ West Coast regional office in Seattle. “The partnerships created during Springer’s rescue provide a strong foundation for international cooperation as well as coordination between government, state, tribal, and non-profit groups to benefit both Northern and Southern Resident killer whales.”
“Springer’s reunion is an unqualified success – the only project of its kind in history,” said Donna Sandstrom, director of The Whale Trail and co-organizer of “Celebrate Springer!” Telegraph Cove event. “To get the little whale home, we had to learn how to work together, as organizations, agencies and nations. Above all, we put her best interests first. Community members played a key role in shaping Springer’s fate. We hope her story inspires people to join us in working on issues facing our endangered southern resident orcas today, with the same urgency, commitment, and resolve.”
For more information, check out Springer Facebook Page and The Whale Trail.