Press Release about why (??) Bleker wants Morgan to go to Loro Parque..
Press release | 12-10-2011
The orca at the Dolfinarium in Harderwijk, rescued from from the Wadden Sea in July 2010, starving and weak, may be moved to Loro Parque Zoo on Tenerife. Henk Bleker, Minister for Agriculture and Foreign Trade does not believe the animal can be released into the wild as its chances of survival would be very slim. In his view the orca’s move to Tenerife would be ‘the least bad solution’.
The decision to move the orca to Loro Parque had already been made in July. At the instigation of the orca coalition, a partnership of welfare organisations, the court had asked Mr Bleker to give his position a more solid basis. The orca coalition would rather see the orca released using a planned approach. The minister regrets he cannot agree to this solution: "This decision is in my view a kind of defeat because I believe these animals should be in the sea and not in a zoo, but there is no other choice."Objections
The orca coalition objected to having the animal stay in the Dolfinarium after its recovery and wanted Morgan to be returned to the sea. The orca coalition believes the zoo in Tenerife lacks the relevant expertise and is therefore not a suitable sanctuary. In September the Ministry of Agriculture held a hearing to allow the orca coalition and the Dolfinarium to explain their views on the best solution to ensure the orca’s survival. Mr Bleker made up his mind only after having discussed the matter with both parties and studied the information given to him.
Mr Bleker believes the Dolfinarium has shown great care and acted in compliance with the Flora and Fauna Act. Scientists have studied the options carefully. "An animal like Morgan belongs in its natural surroundings, but not if this is at the expense of the animal’s welfare. Her family has not been traced, not even with the new sonar system. Also, Morgan is a juvenile and we are not sure if she is able to catch her own food. That is why returning her to the wild, an option I would prefer too, sadly would not be very promising."Sanctuary
Once it became clear that the animal could not be released into the wild, a sanctuary had to be found. In the view of the Dolfinarium too, the tank in the Harderwijk was no longer big enough. There are just a few locations in the world where orcas are held in groups. Loro Parque in Tenerife is one of them as it has one of the largest pools and is located in Europe, which is an advantage, as the journey time will be shorter.
Loro Parque is an EU approved park, which means it has educational and scientific research facilities alongside the commercial activities taking place. "Of course I would prefer an animal to be rescued with the intention of releasing it into its natural surroundings again, not to be placed in a sanctuary. But if its release into the wild is no longer an option, I believe this sanctuary would be the next best thing. The more so as the orca would have the opportunity to quickly come into contact with other orcas."Decision
The decision to move the orca was announced today and Harderwijk Dolfinarium and the orca coalition were notified. A letter was sent to the House of Representatives explaining Mr Bleker’s decision.
Thanks for the info.