VERDICT POSTPONED until 19 Feb 2014
The High Court in Den Haag has informed the Free Morgan Foundation that the verdict for Morgan could now take up to a further six weeks to be released. (The verdict was originally scheduled for release on the 15th of Jan 2014). Although disappointed, because every day of potential freedom for Morgan is precious, we are confident that the law supports the release of Morgan and look forward to The High Court’s verdict scheduled for Wednesday 19 Feb 2014. However, each Monday, you can check whether The High Court will release the verdict (on the Wednesday of that week) at http://www.raadvanstate.nl/uitspraken/actuele-uitspraken/hoofdzaken.html
The Free Morgan Foundation thanks you for all your continued support!
VET ASSESSMENT has overlooked some serious issues with Morgan
Dr Greenwood, a renowned vet in the Zoo industry has recently conducted an inspection of Morgan, yet somehow 20131120–GREENWOOD veterinarian assessment of Morgan (no cover pages) has missed or down-played some serious aspects of Morgan’s health and welfare. Dr Greenwoods conclusion reads “In general, with the exception of her hearing deficit, Morgan’s physical condition and health are excellent. From what I was able to see from her behaviour, her psychological health is also good. I was satisfied that she was being given the best of care.”
Alarmingly he has, perhaps inadvertently, revealed that Morgan has begun cycling – indicating that Loro Parque’s shameful tactic of keeping Morgan with the adult male Keto may lead to her being impregnated – resulting in a hybrid calf sooner rather than later. Remember that the Dolfinarium Harderwijk claimed that Morgan was just 2 years old when they captured her in June 2010– making her 5 years old now that Loro Parque is trying to breed form her.
Dr Greenwood seems to have completely missed that Morgan clearly exhibits serious stereotypies (abnormal repetitive behaviours) which have resulted in self-inflicted wounds. He has stated that she has damage to three of her left teeth in her mandible (lower jaw), when our photos clearly show that there is damage to seven teeth. Given that Dr Greenwood states “I have been a veterinary consultant to Loro Parque since 1986, but I am not actively involved in the care of this group of whales, so am able to take a professionally independent view.”, we wonder how he could have missed all these points.
ABUSE CONTINUES AT LORO PARQUE
Photographs taken by Dr Visser on the 17th of November 2013, clearly show that Morgan has continued to suffer whilst being ‘cared’ for at Loro Parque. Her front teeth are worn down to the gums, others have had more than a third worn off and yet at least one other is broken. Not shown in this photo is a tooth on her right jaw which is nearly worn to the pulp and which may very well have to be drilled out. If not drilled, she may get a tooth infection, which could cause sepsis and death.
The photo here also clearly shows the extreme damage Morgan has inflicted on herself from continually banging against the tank walls. This is termed ‘hypertrophic tissue damage’ and is often itchy as well as sore. Furthermore, Morgan has banged her head against the tank so often that she has worn away the skin and exposed raw flesh. Yet, Loro Parque and the owner claim that Morgan is ‘doing fine and is in good health’. They also claim that Dr Visser manipulates data. You decide who to believe.
Morgan’s next hearing will be at the High Court in Den Haag (The Hague), Netherlands on the Tuesday 3rd of December 2013 at 10:45 am.
LOCATION: Council of State (Raad van State) of the Netherlands, Chamber Unit A3, Kneuterdijk 22, 2514 EN Den Haag, Netherlands (note this is NOT the same court as last year).
We will be posting an “event” on Morgan’s Facebook page for those of you who wish to join us at the Courthouse.
The current schedule is for the lawyers from both sides to have 5 minutes to present their case, then the Judges can ask them (and the expert witnesses) questions. We are unsure how long this may continue for, but anticipate that it may be a few hours of questions, if the previous hearings have been anything to go by.
2 orca now winners in the BiLLe Celebrity Charity Challenge
First Morgan and now Lolita have won the BiLLe Celebrity Charity Challenge. Voted by the public, as charities worth supporting, the Free Morgan Foundation and the Orca Network have now each won €25,000. In an unprecedented back-to-back coup, both organisations are celebrated here with an endearing cartoon drawn by FMF supporter Lee Harrison. The FMF and the Orca Network both work towards removing individual orca from the demeaning ‘wet circus’ lives they currently lead.
Both orca were captured from the wild, but Lolita, originally known as Tokitae has been in captivity for more than 40 years. However, researchers still know her family and the Orca Network has selected a cove which is ideal for her rehabilitation and possible release back to her family. There are more details about her retirement and rehabilitation on their page about Lolita/Tokitae.
In April 2013, Sam Simon was nominated for the BiLLe Celebrity Charity Challenge and the Free Morgan Foundation was his linked Charity. The public voted for (and the FMF) and we won with a (26470 votes, with Sam Simon 2288 votes ahead).
All this support resulted in a €25,000 donation from the BiLLe Group, which will go towards helping Morgan. A huge thanks to the BiLLe Group for making this funding available and to Veronica W. for nominating Sam and Morgan (and of course, thanks to Sam and all the supporters who voted every day to help Morgan!).
Law Experts Publish on Morgan’s Legal Status
Three law experts; Arie Trouwborst, Richard Caddell and Ed Couzens, have recently had their peer-reviewed article published titled: To Free or Not to Free? State Obligations and the Rescue and Release of Marine Mammals: A Case Study of ‘Morgan the Orca’.
The Cambridge Journal Transnational Environmental Law , which has published the article, has kindly provided it free of charge to interested parties. Documents such as these are normally sold to each individual who wishes to download it, so we are grateful to the Editors for helping Morgan in this way and allowing the greater public to be informed.
We would like to also extend our thanks to the authors for providing insight into Morgan’s case. Their findings may well take the Free Morgan Foundation one step closer to achieving the goal of giving Morgan her chance at rehabilitation and release.
Morgan fights for freedom – Appeal Process Started
With financial assistance from Sam Simon, an American director, producer, writer, cartoonist, and philanthropist, Morgan will now have a chance to appeal the decision denying her the right to return to the ocean. Morgan was captured in the waters off the Netherlands, under a ‘rehabilitation and release’ permit.
Mr Simon comments “Quite simply, Morgan, an intelligent, highly social animal that used to swim 100 kilometres a day in the wild, has been illegally abducted by the captivity industry and is now forced to perform idiotic tricks in a bathtub. She must be returned to her family. This is probably her last chance.”
FIGHT FOR MORGAN’S FREEDOM WILL CONTINUE
The Free Morgan Foundation was saddened to hear the verdict from the Judges of the Amsterdam Court today. Despite the fact that Morgan’s right to freedom was clearly outlined by many orca scientists from around the world, the captivity industries duplicitous manner has resulted in this step backwards for Morgan and humanity. Our Expert Board comments on the verdict as the next steps to appeal her freedom will begin today. Morgan has suffered severely at Loro Parque and we will not let this go unnoticed. Read the Free Morgan Foundation Expert Board Comments.
MORGAN’S PLIGHT CONTINUES
I’ve just been to visit Morgan and was saddened to see that her life hasn’t improved. Despite us alerting Loro Parque to the issues that we had noted and presented in our evidence to Court on the 1st of November 2012, nothing appears to have changed for Morgan.
I observed her chewing on concrete and her teeth with blue paint on them. She was also still bashing her head against the concrete. She has some sort of a wound above her right eye – the source of which is unclear – but it may be a secondary infection from a rake mark, a growth of some sort or a raw wound from bashing her face on the concrete. The damaged tissue on her lower jaw (termed hypertrophic tissue) is still enlarged and I photographed an open wound on the tip of it.
Additionally, Keto, the adult male is continually shadowing Morgan and harassing her. It is clear that Loro Parque is pushing hard for him to impregnate her.
With the verdict for Morgan’s court case to be read tomorrow, we can only hope that Morgan will be given the legal right to be taken out of the ‘abusement park’ Loro Parque.
DR. VISSER SAYS PARK SUING HER OVER REPORT SUBMITTED IN COURT
Digital Journal’s Elizabeth Batt has released a story detailing how Loro Parque’s lawyers are threatening Dr Visser. The case revolves around the evidence Dr Visser has presented, about Morgan. In an attempt to intimidate her and to try and prevent her from presenting her evidence in Court on the 1st of November just past, Dr Visser explains how the threats only fueled the fire to help Morgan. Read the full story.
VISSER’S COURT PRESENTATION SHOWS ALARMING ISSUES
Dr Ingrid Visser presented startling new findings from her October visit to Loro Parque. Following on the heels of the data and images submitted to the Amsterdam Court, from her June visit, Dr Visser returned to check on Morgan’s welfare. Unfortunately, Visser has found that the intervening 19 weeks have showed not only an escalation in aggression from the other orca, but Morgan has begun to exhibit a stereotypical behaviour which has not been documented before. In this case, Morgan repeatedly bashes her head against the side of a gate closing mechanism. Additionally, Morgan’s boredom and stress have manifested themselves in an acceleration of tooth wear, with a third of some teeth now permanently damaged and the tops worn off. Blue paint on the teeth clearly shows that Morgan is biting concrete below the water surface. Trainers have been photographed ignoring Morgan whilst she vies for their attention.
MERIT PROCEDURE HEARING OF MORGAN’S COURT CASE WHICH TOOK PLACE AT THE AMSTERDAM DISTRICT COURTS ON THURSDAY 1ST NOVEMBER 2012
Morgan’s latest court hearing took place on Thursday 1st November in the Amsterdam District Courts. Free Morgan Foundation expert board members Dr. Ingrid Visser, Jeff Foster, Jean-Michel Cousteau and Lara Pozzato, along with members of the general public from all over the world, attended the hearing to present evidence to the three presiding Judges and to show their support for Morgan’s freedom.
FIGHTING FOR THE REHABILITATION AND RELEASE OF ORCA MORGAN AND PROMOTING SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH AND EDUCATION ABOUT THE WILD NORTH ATLANTIC ORCA POPULATION
The story of Morgan the orca has captured the world with a sense of dismay and injustice. Despite a viable release plan put forward by over 30 experts, a Judge in the Netherlands ruled that Morgan should go to Loro Parque, a theme park in Tenerife>.
In June 2010 a lone female orca calf was captured from the Wadden Sea, off the northwest coast of the Netherlands, under a rehabilitation and release permit. She was emaciated and dehydrated. The Dolfinarium Harderwijk took this orca, whom they named Morgan, to their facilities in order to administer medical health care. They weren’t allowed to display her to the public and she was to be prepared for reintroduction back into her natural habitat. Unfortunately, this isn’t what happened.
Morgan currently languishes in Loro Parque, a privately owned entertainment park in the Canary Islands. She is used in shows and is abused by the other orca at the park. Yet, there is strong evidence that illustrates that Morgan is a suitable candidate for release back into the wild.
Since Morgan’s capture two years ago, the Free Morgan Foundation has been fighting for Morgan’s freedom. Please help us in our efforts.