(WHALES/TAKE ACTION) NETHERLANDS — After being found near dead on the beach and put up for sale by her treatment center, Morgan the orca is finally seeing progress toward freedom. With the help of the Free Morgan Group, the Orca Coalition, and pressure from animal advocates, a judge ruled that Morgan be moved to a larger tank with other mammals inside.
With this victory, advocates expect her to be released back into the wild shortly. This story gives hope to all animals who are at the mercy of courts, lawyers, and judges. Read on for the full story, and help free Morgan by signing the petition! — Global Animal
Change.org, Renee Evans
A young orca who was taken captive last June off the coast of the Netherlands received her first glimpse of freedom last week, thanks to the diligent work of the Free Morgan Group, the Orca Coalition and growing pressure from advocates.
Morgan had been found stranded in the Wadden Sea, along the northern coast of the Netherlands. She was dehydrated and undernourished, so she was taken to the Harderwijk Dolfinarium for treatment. She was supposed to be released back into the wild, but instead, the Harderwijk Dolfinarium decided to put her on public display — just five weeks after her capture. Last December, the marine park made the announcement that devastated Morgan’s supporters: they were keeping her. Well, unless another aquarium offered big bucks for her.
Under the claim of scientific and educational purposes, Morgan’s new home was proposed to be a tank at Loro Parque in Spain. SeaWorld would then have ownership of the orca.
More than a year later, and several months after Morgan got a lawyer, a Dutch judge ruled on August 3 against Morgan’s transfer to Loro Parque. The judge also questioned whether using the claim of “scientific research” was just a ploy to get Morgan to the new facility where she would no doubt reel in profits. He ordered the Ministry to investigate the claim.
The good news doesn’t stop there. The judge demanded that the Dolfinarium immediately move Morgan into a larger tank where she will have contact with other marine mammals and more room to swim. Furthermore, the judge asked for open communication and additional research from advocacy groups (mainly the Free Morgan Group and the Orca Coalition) and the Dolfinarium in order to find a solution for Morgan.
The Free Morgan Group and the Orca Coalition believe Morgan can successfully be reintroduced into the wild where she should have been months ago. In a statement for Change.org, the Free Morgan Group wrote: “We are very happy about this groundbreaking victory, it sets a precedent that we hope will contribute to change people’s mind regarding the Marine Mammal Public Display Facilities. We are aware that this is just the beginning, but we are confident that truth and justice will prevail.”
The Free Morgan Group continued: “This is the first step towards Morgan’s freedom. We’ll keep on asking for her rehabilitation and release and we are open to cooperate with both the Ministry and the Dolfinarium to achieve this goal. The FMG is comprised of scientists, researchers, trainers, animal welfare experts, education and media experts, all working with cetaceans and many of which specialized in orca. All together our group makes up to 135 years of experience with wild and captive orcas, cetacean strandings and rehabilitation and release experience. We are here to put our knowledge at Morgan’s service to guarantee her freedom.”
The ruling for Morgan is virtually unheard of, which makes the victory even more exciting. The foundation for her freedom has been built and your voice can make a difference. Sign the petition (http://www.change.org/petitions/release-morgan-the-orca-back-into-the-wild) today in favor of Morgan’s release.