In late June 2010, a young female orca was seen in the Wadden Sea off the coast of the Netherlands. Appearing to be in a weakened state, she was captured and taken to Harderwijk, a captive facility situated about an hour from Amsterdam. The Dutch government permitted her capture on the basis that once nursed back to health, the female orca, named Morgan by the dolphinarium, would be released back to the wild. Six months later, after living in a small tank at the facility, they announced that she would not be returned to the wild. The battle began then to have her freed.
In July 2011, the Dutch government issued a permit for Morgan to be exported to Loro Parque, an amusement park in the Canary Islands which already keep orcas in captivity, all of which are there on loan from SeaWorld USA. In early August, a group of activists campaigning for Morgan’s release scored a victory in an Amsterdam court preventing the orca being sent to Loro Parque, however sadly the victory was short lived and in late November 2011, the Dutch courts rules that Morgan could be sent to an aquarium, and subsequently Morgan was flown to the Spanish facility. This was of course a terrible outcome for Morgan and also for the orca experts, scientists, NGO’s and activists who had been working hard on her behalf to prove this whale is a prime candidate for release to the wild.
A release plan was ready, Norway had agreed to have Morgan back home but sadly in the end the captivity industry, even although it was plain they had a financial incentive to keep Morgan, managed to convince the authorities that Morgan did not have any chance of survival in the wild and, for now, she remains in captivity – but we hope that will change, with enough public support for her eventual release.
Morgan does NOT belong in captivity. Born the wild, she doesn’t belong to a private company which sells tickets to see her – she belongs in the ocean. Anyone who cares about the future of this young animal and for all wild-born orcas, should insist that Morgan be returned to her ocean home.
Morgan must be free. Click here to help.