Video of a SeaWorld killer whale deliberately beaching itself in an apparent suicide attempt after a show at a waterpark has gone viral.
Killer whale Morgan performed for tourists at Loro Parque in Tenerife, Spain along with five other orcas that are owned by SeaWorld. Morgan then launched herself onto a concrete slab where she lay motionless for more than 20 minutes.
In the wild, the only time an orca will beach themselves is when they are hunting prey that are out of the water. When an orca is out of the water there is a risk that the weight of their bodies can crush their internal organs.
“While we cannot explain the reason for her behavior, the juxtaposition of a previously-wild orca against the stark backdrop of the park’s performance area is unsettling, to say the least,” Ric O’Barry from the Dolphin Project said.
Morgan was born in the wild, but she was captured in 2010 off the coast of the Netherlands because she was dehydrated and emaciated under a “rescue, rehabilitation and release” permit. However, despite being nursed back to health the killer whale has yet to be released.
Another unsettling video shows one of the orcas at Loro Parque panicking in a small medical pool. The animal appears to be in distress and repeatedly rams its head against the metal gate in what some believe is an attempt to escape.
A statement from the park contradicted the footage:
“The video published by the Dolphin Project on its website is a new attempt at manipulation through exaggeration and dramatization of a completely normal situation in which there is no problem for the animals.”
SeaWorld, which owns the six orcas at Loro Parque, said they would phase out killer whale shows in their San Diego park and end all orca breeding. These changes came after the backlash from the scathing Blackfish documentary.
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