June 8, 2016
You may have heard about Morgan, the rescued killer whale being cared for at Loro Parque, mentioned in the news recently. With all of the recent news about Morgan, the SeaWorld killer whale experts are providing more background on the slide out maneuver that’s being discussed in various online articles.
The most important thing all our experts say is that this particular behavior is in fact a natural behavior that is seen frequently in both wild killer whales and those at zoological facilities like SeaWorld.
But, let’s talk about Morgan for a minute. Many may not know that Morgan was found stranded and severely underweight in 2010, and was rehabilitated by a Dutch rescue organization. Through consultation with independent scientific experts, and international government authorities, Morgan was determined to be non-releasable.
She has had her hearing tested, and like many stranded whales and dolphins she has been diagnosed with severe hearing deficits. Her ability to echolocate, and therefore hunt and find fish, or communicate with other wild whales, could be severely compromised were she released back in to the wild. In fact, her hearing loss is probably why she was stranded in the first place.
In short, she would not survive a life in the wild.
Morgan now lives at Loro Parque, a respected zoological institution with experience caring for orcas (also known as killer whales), and our two organizations manage her care cooperatively. We consult regularly with them on veterinary care, husbandry and training, and have enjoyed a long association with them on conservation programs, animal rescue and scientific research.
Morgan receives regular health and wellness exams from a team of veterinarians and animal care specialists, and is currently healthy and thriving. In fact, she continues to grow and gain weight at a healthy rate since her rescue.
And now back to the slide out behavior that everyone is talking about. The fact is that there are no concerns with Morgan sliding out as shown in the video, taken more than a week ago, that is circulating on the news and social media sites. This is something the whales do with some regularity and is a trained behavior as well.
Morgan continues, along with the other orcas and animals at Loro Parque, to educate and inspire guests to protect animals and the wild wonders of our world. You can learn more about Morgan’s story and contribution to conservation and research here.
For more information on slide out behavior of orcas, dolphins and pilot whales, watch this video with our Pilot Whales from July of 2013:
The Loro Parque team has also posted a direct response to questions about the recent video on their blog here.