Video: SeaWorld Orca Beaches Herself by Tenerife Pool, Activists Call for Release

By Denisse Moreno
Denisse Moreno
Denisse Moreno
June 6, 2016 Updated: June 6, 2016

A video of a SeaWorld killer whale beaching herself at the side of a park pool in Tenerife, Spain, has people calling for its release to the wild.

Footage taken by “Morgan Monitors” shows the orca, Morgan, fully out of the pool at Loro Parque.

Morgan was apparently out of the water for at least 10 minutes, according to The Dolphin Project, a group that advocates against whale and dolphin captivity.

The whale was captured in 201o after she was spotted swimming by herself and extremely underweight in the waters of the Netherlands, according to the website Free Morgan.

She was captured by a local Dutch theme park under a Dutch government-issued “rescue, rehabilitation, and release” permit.

Morgan was transferred to Loro Parque in 2011 after a Dutch court decided she was not suitable to be released back into the wild.

Although some orca beach themselves for short periods of time while hunting, some say Morgan’s behavior is abnormal.

“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,” said the Dolphin Project on its website.

“Some people took selfies with Morgan in the background,” the website said. “Sadly, Morgan was still out of the water.”

(FILES) A file photo taken on September 21, 2011 shows an Orca, called Morgan, swimming in pool at the Dolphinarium in Harderwijk. Dutch State Secretary Henk Bleker decided on October 12 to transfer the orca, which was found one year ago in the Wadden Sea in The Netherlands, to Loro Parque zoo on the Spanish island of Tenerife. No date for the transfer has been set.  AFP PHOTO / MARTEN VAN DIJL  - netherlands out - belgium out - (Photo credit should read Marten van Dijl/AFP/Getty Images)
The orca, Morgan, swims in a pool at the Dolphinarium in Harderwijk on Sept. 21, 2011. Dutch State Secretary Henk Bleker decided on October 12 to transfer the orca to Loro Parque zoo on the Spanish island of Tenerife. (Marten van Dijl/AFP/Getty Images)

However, Loro Parque says people’s conclusions based on the video was “absolutely illogical and absurd.”

“A voluntary stranding is a natural behavior of orcas living in the wild,” the park in response to the footage. “For example, in the region of Valdes, Argentina, there is a group of orcas that has learned to hunt the cubs of sea lions in the shallow waters near the shore.” 

The park said the orcas at Loro Parque are trained to leave the water on their own accord so that they can be presented “to the public, for conducting corporal check-ups, for inspecting their blowholes, as well as for testing hearing abilities of the orca.”

Morgan’s beaching is not the first time she has been involved in an incident. In April, Free Morgan said the whale had new rake marks and increased self-mutilation injuries in the form of hypertrophic tissue damage on her lower jaws. A photograph taken by the group also shows that the orca had a fractured tooth.

Previous footage taken earlier this year showed Morgan banging herself on the head with a metal barrier.

Free Morgan said in April that the animal is bullied, attacked, and harassed by other whales in the park. The group said the adult male whale, Keto, closely shadowed Morgan, and she is locked in tanks with Tekoa, another male.

Loro Parque has six orcas, according to its website.

SeaWorld announced in March that it would end its controversial orca breeding program.