Why Captivity Sucks + Morgan

"Kshamenk" the orca, in a very tiny tank, Mundo Marino, Argentina. He spends most of his day locked in this tank. (c) Orca Research Trust


Although many facilities say that they provide education for people, typically their information is either wrong or virtually non-existent.

The Orca Research Trust strongly disagrees with facilities who keep cetaceans in captivity and we encourage you to avoid them.  The reason they exist at all is because people pay money to see the animals.  We would recommend that you watch cetaceans in the wild with a responsible company or visit rehabilitation centers where the animals have been rescued and will be returned to the wild.

Cetaceans (whales dolphins and porpoises) are typically wide-ranging animals.  Many species have been shown to be very intelligent with strong social bonds.  It has never been appropriate to keep these animals for our entertainment and this case is even more so now that we know so much more about them.  Take for instance the life-span of an orca in captivity (on average less than 20 years) compared to one in the wild (where females can live up to 90 years).  In captivity orca like Kshamenk (above) can only move a few body-lengths at a time – in the wild he would travel 100-150 km per day.

There are many good reasons to not keep cetaceans in captivity and we would like to present all of them here, however there are many good websites which have comprehensive data on anti-captivity information.  We suggest you look on the internet for updated information.

Also, we suggest you go to www.freemorgan.org to read more about the young orca who was ‘rescued’ from the wild and after more than a year is still held in a tank only 2×5 her size – hardly enough room for her to turn around in.

Made to perform demeaning tricks day after day, many cetaceans in captivity are not fed if they do not perform their tricks. (c) Orca Research Trust.

Below we present a few documents which outline some of the travesties which abound in the captivity industry.  We also provide documents about Dolphin Assisted Therapy and show that they are not what their marketers suggest they are.

“Dying to Entertain You”.  Orca in captivity – the real facts behind the shows.  Williams (2001).

Introduction to Captivity for Children.

Dolphin Assisted Therapy (DAT) leaflet.

Dolphin Assisted Therapy is not what they tell you.


 MORGAN – The Netherlands

Morgan observing public through the only clear window in her tiny tank

The Orca Research Trust has been helping to fight for the life of Morgan, a young orca captured off the coast of the Netherlands on the 23 June 2010 by the Dolfinarium Harderwijk.

Taken into a tank that is only just larger than 2×5 times her length and far too shallow for her to hang vertically in, she has remained in these inhumane conditions for over a year.

Dr Visser and Trustee Mr Hardie prepared a 67 page report on the state of Morgan’s welfare in the entertainment park, titled “Morgan” the orca can and should be rehabilitated“.  It highlighted the lack of ‘environmental enrichment’ (things to keep her mentally stimulated) and described the ‘stereotypic behaviours’ (signs of extreme boredom) Morgan was showing.  It also described how Morgan is a prime candiate for release.

Download the Report about Morgan

This report was instrumental in the Honorable Judge Hans Kijlstra scheduling a hearing for the 3rd of August and passing his verdict after only one hour of deliberation.  In his ruling Judge Kijlstra suspended the export permit for Morgan and instructed the Dutch Government to investigate the claims made by Visser, Hardie and others of the Free Morgan Foundation that Morgan should be returned to her home waters of Norway.  He also instructed the Dolfinarium Harderwijk to give Morgan more room and to allow her to socalize with the bottlenose dolphins also held at the entertainment park.  They have not done so.

You can either click on the thumbnail (right) or on the hypertext here, to download the comprehensive report.

Visser & Hardie (2011) MORGAN REHAB V1-2

Morgan, tongue rolling - a sign of stereotypic (boredom) behaviour. © Orca Research Trust

Morgan blowing bubble burst to entertain herself. © Orca Research Trust

Morgans capture permit does not allow public display, yet every day 100's of visitors are charged money to watch her - clearly showing that the Dolfinarium Harderwijk has a purely commercial interest in Morgan. © Orca Research Trust

A trainer encourages bad behaviour with Morgan © Orca Research Trust







Morgan has been damaging herself by chewing on her tank (another sign of boredom) © Orca Research Trust

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