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Morgan the orca can & should be rehabilitated

Morgan the orca can & should be rehabilitated

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Published by jmventre
Dr Ingrid Visser and Mr Terry Hardie describe why the orca named "Morgan" can and should be released from captivity,.
Dr Ingrid Visser and Mr Terry Hardie describe why the orca named "Morgan" can and should be released from captivity,.

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Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: jmventre on Jul 26, 2011
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07/26/2011

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1
NOT TO BE CITED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION OF THE AUTHORS v1.2
 
“Morgan” the orca can
and should be
1
rehabilitated.
 
23
W
ith additional notes on why a transfer to another ‘captive orca
4
facility’ is inappropriate
and release is preferred.
5678Compiled July 20119by Dr. Ingrid N. Visser & Mr Terry M. Hardie10ingrid@orcas.net 11terry@orcas.net 12(Available from: Orca Research Trust www.orcaresearch.org) 13 14151617181920212223242526272829303132333435363738394041
Cover: Morgan, the young captive orca, watching a young boy, at 
Dolfinarium Harderwijk 
.
42
photo © Dr. Ingrid N. Visser, June 2011
 
43
 
2
NOT TO BE CITED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION OF THE AUTHORS v1.2
 
Executive Summary.
44
It is our joint professional opinion that Morgan is a prime candidate for
45
rehabilitation and release as she is in a state of mental fitness that indicates
46
she is alert, highly motivated and willing to learn.
4748
However, Morgans physical fitness needs to be improved, as the tank she is
49
currently in is too small and too shallow for appropriate training. Additionally,
50
she requires more mental stimulation as she is exhibiting signs of boredom
51
and stereotypic behaviour, which are likely to increase in the impoverished
52
conditions she is being held in.
5354
It is pivotal to understanding the situation for Morgan, to consider the
55
following:
Boredom is not a luxury problem…. There are indications that [it]
56
affects the brain and ….. an animal’s resistance to stress and increase its chance
57
of becoming physically ill 
.”
(Wemelsfelder 2005 p86 in:
 Animal Boredom:
58
Understanding the Tedium of Confined Lives. Mental Health and Well-Being in
59
 Animals
).
6061
We also draw attention to the following quote from this report:
62
If the true goal of capturing Morgan was to give her the opportunity of a good 
63
and meaningful life, then keeping her in the current facility, or transferring her 
64
to another captive orca facility, where she will be subjected to the daily deeming
65
round of tricks in return for her food and/or be forced into a breeding program,
66
is not appropriate.
 
6768
We have come to the unfortunate conclusion that Morgan is being retained in
69
captivity and not being released due to her intrinsic and/or fiscal value. Due
70
to this her welfare is being severely compromised.
7172
Executive Recommendations.
73
1.
 
Morgan is moved immediately from the impoverished and
74
inappropriate conditions she is currently being held in;
75
2.
 
Morgan is
NOT
transferred to another captive orca facility, as they are
76
not only sadly lacking in appropriate conditions for keeping wide-
77
ranging species such as orca, but they also are
 for 
-profit and Morgan
78
will be exploited for breeding and/or entertainment purposes;
79
3.
 
Morgan is moved to a sea-pen where natural (or at a minimum, semi-
80
natural) conditions prevail;
81
4.
 
Morgan is immediately provided with appropriate mental and physical
82
‘enrichment’ to meet animal welfare standards;
 
83
5.
 
Morgan is rehabilitated for potential release into the wild to re-join the
84
population of orca from which she came.
8586
 
v1.2
 
NOT TO BE CITED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION OF THE AUTHORS
3
 
87
Contents
 
Page #Executive Summary
……………………………………………………………………...
................................................................ 2
Executive Recommendations …………………………………………………….…………………………………………………
2Contents
…………………………………………….……………………………………………………………………………………….
3List of Illustrations
…………………………………………….………………………………………………………………………..
4Key Facts
…………………………………………….………………………………………………………………………………………
5
Brief Background and Context of this Report …………………………….………………………………………………….
6Definitions: Stereotypic Behaviour & Environmental Enrichment 
…………………………….…………………...
7
Observation Details …………………………………………………..…………….…………………………………………………..
7
 
Observation Timeframes
………………………………………………………………….....
........................................
 
7
 
Definitions: Stereotypic Behaviour & Environmental Enrichment 
………………………………………….
 
7
 
Behaviour, ‘Toys’, Mental Stimulation
(Environmental Enrichment)
……………………………….……
 8
 
Excessive Vocalisations, Stereotypical Behaviours, Orientation to dolphins
………………...
.............
 
11
 
Physical Contact, Spindle Neurons, Visual Stimulation, Environmental Enrichment 
……………
...15
 
Oral Stereotypical Behaviour (Tongue Manipulation), Hose Orientation
……………………………
...
 
17
 
 Alertness, Novel Items (further Environmental Enrichment)
……………………………………………….
 
19
 
Physical condition, Damage to Rostrum, Teeth
………………………………………………………………….
.
 
20
 
Impoverished Conditions, Welfare
…………………………………………………………………………………….
 
22
 
Semi-natural Sea-Pen, Rehabilitation, Release
…………………………………………………………………..
 
23Why transferring Morgan to a facility holding other captive orca is inappropriate .
………………………
... 25
 
Captive Orca Information
…………………………………………….…………………………………………………..
 
25
 
Limited Breeding Females
…………………………………………….………………………………………………….
 
25
 
Transfer Between Facilities
…………………………………………….………………………………………………..
 
25
 
Reduced Lifespan in Captivity compared to the Wild 
…………………………………………….……………
 
26
 
Recent Deaths
…………………………………………….…………………………………………………………………..
.
 
27
 
Financial and Intrinsic Value
…………………………………………….……………………………………………..
 
27Orca in Captivity; Education versus Entertainment 
…………………………………………….…………………………
29Captive Orca in the Context of Morgan
…………………………………………….…………………………………………...
30Captive Orca Facilities
…………………………………………….…………………………………………………………………...
32Clarification of Points regarding the Suitability of Morgan for Rehabilitation and Release
………………
36References
…………………………………………….……………………………………………………………………………………
51APPENDIX ONE. Recent deaths of orca in captivity
…………………………………………….………………………...
57APPENDIX TWO.
CV’s of Authors
 
…………………………………………….………………………………………………...
 60
888990919293949596979899100101102103
Figure 1. Morgan, the young captive orca, at 
Dolfinarium Harderwijk 
. Note the stream of bubbles
104
produced whilst she vocalised as she observed the public.
photo © Dr. Ingrid N. Visser, June 2011
.
 
105

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