Another captive orca is pregnant. Loro Parque, a marine-mammal amusement park in Spain, had reportedly been trying to breed Morgan, who is only about 10 years old, “for years,” according to the Free Morgan Foundation, based in the European Union. The average age at which female orcas begin to reproduce in nature is 14.9 years.
Breeding an orca at such an unnaturally young age can be dangerous for both the mother and calf, and the physical and psychological stress of captivity compounds potential problems. According to the Free Morgan Foundation, it was illegal under EU law for the park to breed her.
In 2006, SeaWorld flew four orcas to Spain to launch Loro Parque’s “Orca Ocean,” beginning a partnership between the two companies. SeaWorld was heavily involved in “managing” orcas Keto, Tekoa, Kohana, and Skyla but publicly distanced itself from the park when Keto killed trainer Alexis Martinez in 2009.
All four orcas remain at Loro Parque, along with Morgan, who was taken from the wild under a rescue, rehabilitation, and release permit. Though she recovered, she was never released back into the ocean. Approximately four years ago, Loro Parque began putting her in a tank with Keto, who fathered two orcas for SeaWorld, in an apparent attempt to breed the adolescent.
SeaWorld still legally owned the orcas until recently, when it announced the end of its Loro Parque “business relationship due to a contractual dispute.” The disagreement was almost certainly over the Spanish park’s insistence on breeding orcas despite SeaWorld’s new policy against it following an intense public outcry. Rather than ensuring that the orcas in Spain weren’t bred, SeaWorld apparently just gave them up.
You can help Morgan regain the freedom, bodily autonomy, and agency to make her own reproductive choices that were violently taken from her. Sign PETA’s petition urging the Spanish government to release her into a seaside sanctuary.