Disturbing footage has surfaced from a popular tourist attraction in the Canary Islands called Loro Parque that appears to show an orca making a desperate attempt to escape a small medical pool.
“Orca at Loro Parque ... panics in medical pool” is the headline to the video captured by an anonymous activist at the well-known zoo in Tenerife, Spain, and posted online Tuesday by the Dolphin Project.
“This video shows the amount of stress and cruelty imposed on orcas as a result of confinement to small, barren tanks,” the Dolphin Project wrote in a blog post.
To hear the full impact of the orca ramming the gate with its head, watch with the volume turned up:
“The orca is obviously in huge distress and rams its head forcefully against the metal gate in what seems to be an attempt to escape,” Helen Hesselager O'Barry of the Dolphin Project wrote, according to The Dodo.
“Loro Parque is the largest tourist attraction in Spain. SeaWorld owns all six orcas at the park, including Morgan who was captured off the coast of the Netherlands in June of 2010. The orcas at Loro Parque are trained to perform for food several times a day in front of large, cheering audiences.”
The Dolphin Project believes the distressed whale could be Morgan.
Reactions to the video are just beginning to surface online.
“Knowing what we do about orca whales, it should come as little surprise that taking them from the ocean and putting them in a tank that is equivalent to the size of a fish bowl causes them to go completely insane with boredom and frustration,” One Green Planet wrote. “The heartbreaking video above captures one of these moments.”
Then there was this from the Seattle PI: “This recent video is disturbing, and raises the question of what SeaWorld plans to do with their six orcas that are housed at an amusement park in the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa.
“SeaWorld is undergoing rapid and significant change, and deserves time to demonstrate their sincerity and commitment to their avowed promise to improve life for the captive whales. Yet if they really do have their priorities straight, unlike the previous leaders, they will take action for their whales at Loro Parque and not just the orcas on American soil.
“The whales in Loro Parque might be out of sight, but they are not out of mind.”
Loro Parque, responding Wednesday, April 27, in a blog post, strongly denounced the characterization of the whale having a panic attack and defended its treatment of the orca.
In part, Loro Parque wrote (translated by Google Translate):
“The interpretation that Morgan is suffering a panic attack is completely incorrect and malicious, all we see is that Morgan wants to open the door to access the pool B and be with Tekoa…
“The interpretation of a panic attack is completely ridiculous, orcas are trained daily to enter and remain quiet within medical pools, since it is an essential element for veterinarians to make routine examinations of animals or treat them when some of they are sick…
“Loro Parque orcas are under the care of our team of veterinarians, and receive regularly visited by veterinary experts of cetaceans and medicine inspection by the competent authorities in animal welfare. None of these professionals has found that stress and cruelty allegations are true.”
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