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Killer orca Morgan living in 'concrete tank' suffered tragedy when calf died

Darcy Rafter July 5, 2022
Killer orca Morgan living in 'concrete tank'  suffered tragedy when calf died
Photo credit should read JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images

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A killer whale (orca) called Morgan, who is living in what the Free Morgan Foundation claims is a “concrete tank”, suffered a heartbreaking tragedy when she outlived her calf.

Morgan’s calf passed away in captivity in 2021, almost a year ago, not long before her third birthday. Many are now keen to take a look into the orca’s time at the popular tourist attraction.

Morgan was rescued from the Wadden Sea, off the Netherlands coast, in June 2010. She was believed to be between one and four years old when she was rescued. When she was found she was a young, malnourished orca.

Some campaigners are fighting to get Morgan released back into the wild as she no longer performs in shows.

However, the adventure park where Morgan lives – Loro Parque in Puerto de la Cruz on Tenerife, Spain – has denied allegations of mistreatment and poor conditions.

Killer orca calf living in ‘concrete tank’

Photo credit should read DESIREE MARTIN/AFP via Getty Images

Due to her condition when found, Morgan was taken to a Dolfinarium Harderwijk in the Netherlands for treatment. By November 2011, Morgan had outgrown her tank but, instead of being released back into the wild, Morgan was taken to Loro Parque in Tenerife.

Morgan has a number of health issues, including being partially deaf. This means whistles and sounds by trainers receive no response. Loro Parque labels Morgan as “the world’s only deaf orca”.

The orca is kept in a ‘concrete tank’ at Loro Parque, campaigners claim. Protesters also claimed Morgan is bullied by bigger orcas, which is denied by Loro Parque officials.

Environmentalist campaigners protest living conditions

Photo credit should read DESIREE MARTIN/AFP via Getty Images

In 2016, campaigners were upset. Many protesters became concerned when Morgan remained beached and was lying motionless on the concrete during a show for more than ten minutes. This can be very dangerous for orcas as it puts too much pressure on their internal organs.

When footage of the show was released, viewers became worried. Legendary James Bond actor Sir Roger Moore asked for action to be taken.

Campaigners from the Free Morgan Foundation also protested and called the tanks Morgan is kept in “concrete coffins”. The environmentalist campaigners also protest Morgan should be freed or not used for shows as she does not have a high quality of life.

However, Wolfgang Rades, director of Loro Parque, told the Daily Mail Morgan presents normal behaviour. He said: “Beaching themselves is completely normal behaviour – orcas do it all the time in the wild when they’re hunting.”

Killer whale suffered tragedy when calf died

In September 2018, Morgan gave birth to calf Ula, whose father is another Loro Parque orca, Keto. Netflix’s Blackfish documentary claims Keto is the killer whale behind the death of 29-year-old Loro Parque trainer Alexis Martínez. 

Sadly, Morgan and Keto’s calf, Ula, died a few weeks before her third birthday in 2021. It came following an announcement from the park she was suffering from an intestinal condition.

Following the tragedy of Morgan’s calf dying, people have been worried about the orca’s health. Especially after Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project released footage of Morgan repeatedly banging her head against the tank wall in distress years ago.

What did Loro Parque say about claims?

Following footage of the orca reportedly in distress, the zoo fought back against the claims.

It said of the clip: “The video published by the Dolphin Project on its website is a new attempt at manipulation through exaggeration and dramatisation of a completely normal situation in which there is no problem for the animals.”

Loro Parque’s owners dismiss concerns as well as pictures of Morgan’s injuries and insist she is happy and in good health.

They also deny she “repeatedly bashes her head” and insist she has hearing problems and may even be totally deaf. The zoo told The Mirror she does not chew the pool concrete but presses her lower jaw against it to receive vibrations in place of sound.” They also say Morgan “integrated rapidly” with other orcas.

Loro Parque has been contacted for comment by The Focus.

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Darcy is an experienced journalist passionate about celebrity culture and entertainment. After gaining a degree in Media and Communications at Goldsmiths University she has also become a social media specialist, always keeping informed on the latest trends. With almost five years of experience in media, her expertise is analysing platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. When she's not tracking the latest trending content, she’s watching films and eating lots of chocolate.