Free Morgan

So, when you are the Dutch Government and you take in an injured Orca whale AND you should be subject to laws that say animals should be returned to the wild, why do you then listen to a selected group of ‘experts’ who think that actually it would be in the whale’s best interest to keep her in captivity and send her to a marine attraction in Loro Parque in Tenerife? Especially when lots of other experts disagree.

Morgan is a lone female orca discovered off the northwestern coast of the Netherlands, in June 2010.  The Netherlands Government issued a permit for Morgan to be captured and temporarily transferred for rehabilitation to the Dolfinarium Harderwijk, who have looked after her. Currently the Dolfinaruim Harderwijk has said that that they wish to ship Morgan to captive marine mammal facility as Morgan is not a suitable candidate for release into the wild. She has (allegedly) got too used to humans and captivity! Errrm, she WAS in the wild!

The Free Morgan Group, composed of independent international marine experts, have come to logger-heads over what will happen to Morgan. The Group includes Orcalab, Orca Network, Orca Research Trust, Centre for Whale Research and Project SeaWolf as well as conservation and animal welfare groups including the Cetacean Society International, Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society and the International Marine Mammal Project of Earth. They have their own very detailed plan of how Morgan could be returned to the wild to ensure her best chance of survival – and freedom – and have now hired a Dutch lawyer to ask the Dutch Government to block the Dolfinarium’s plans and take a look at the reports they have collected from over 40 leading scientists and marine experts who say Morgan could be returned to the wild in time. More at Orca Coalitie http://www.orcacoalition.org/  .

Could it be that this is all actually about business and that Orcas are black and white gold for aquariums and marine entertainment facilities?  These attractions need whales and dolphins and they need breeding stock. Its easy to use ‘education’ and ‘scientific research as a basis for capturing orcas and dolphins but the fact is these are intelligent, social and free roaming animals who live in the wild. Not tanks. If the captive industry establishes the precedent of “rescuing” an orca, and then claiming that she cannot be returned to the wild, the real risk is that there will be many more captures of “sick” cetaceans. On the 3rd August, A judge in the Netherlands temporarily suspended the CITES export license previously issued by the Dutch government, questioned the commercial nature of the Dolpinariums decision, and instructed the Dutch Ministry to fully review the options. The judge also asked for Morgan to be moved to a bigger tank. Subsequently the Dutch minister visited the dolfinarium and also met with member of the Free Morgan group. A further court hearing is scheduled for the 9th September.

So today the Dolfinarium Harderwijk and the Dutch government have a clear choice. They can either “set an ugly precedent by using rehabilitation as an excuse to imprison a free orca, or they can be environmental heroes by saving both Morgan’s life and her freedom. The choice is clear”.

Please let both the government of the Netherlands and the Dolfinarium know that you want Morgan to be set free. You can write to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation and the Dolfinarium to demand Morgan’s release at:

Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation
Attn.: Minister Henk Bleker and Dienst Regelingen, Mr R.C.W. Aigner
Postbus 20401
2500 CM   The Hague
The Netherlands

Or send a fax (faster, given the urgency!) to +31.70.3786127

Photo of Morgan in her tank from http://theorcaproject.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/morgan-in-her-pool6.jpg

And more at http://www.freemorgan.com/why-morgan-should-be-free and here at http://www.wdcs.org/news.php?select=1008 and a rather sad video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Am6pZAannM

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