A group of 116 students, the finalists of the competition “The Sea of Science”, have recently visited Loro Parque. A contest organized by the Atlantic Association of Oceanographers is aimed at evaluating the best projects about sea biodiversity and increasing knowledge about our oceans using scientific methods.
The students who have been awarded with the “Ramón Margalef” and “Charles Darwin” prizes in representation of the Salesianos San Isidro, IES Barranco, María Auxuliadora and Tomás Morales schools enjoyed an exciting visit to the best zoo of Europe, according to TripAdvisor. As part of the visit they were able to hear about the most recent projects of Loro Parque Fundación dedicated to the protection of the marine environment.
Furthermore, the students were able to learn first-hand about the medical training of dolphins, as well as about the daily activities of the majestic orcas in OrcaOcean. Thus, the Foundation has demonstrated, once more, its commitment to promotion of scientific research and education by taking part in the “The Sea of Science” project with the purpose of providing the Canarian students with a closer look at the important work associated with the conservation of the marine life in our seas.
This significant venture that counts with collaboration of the University of Las Palmas and Fred Olsen, among others, is directed at the public, subsidized and private educational centers that offer primary, secondary, high school and professional educational programs.
Loro Parque Fundación supports, on a regular basis, the local communities in the issues of raising awareness about the importance of the conservation of the marine biodiversity.
The interesting studies that are carried out at the prestigious Max-Planck-Institute, which has an investigation centre at Animal Embassy in Loro Parque and collaborates in research with Loro Parque Fundación.
Loro Parque recognises your distinguished acting career, but believes that you have been seriously misinformed by the extreme animal-rights organisation, PETA. PETA appears to have enlisted your support to accuse Loro Parque of mistreating the orcas in its facilities, but nothing could be further from the truth. For you to verify the situation directly, Loro Parque invites you to visit the park and orca facilities.
The incident which appears to have triggered your involvement in this issue is the recent video of the orca Morgan lying out of the water at the edge of the pool, which animal-right activists alerted to the media with the completely false message that her behaviour was abnormal, and that it signalled such a high level of stress in the animal that she was supposedly trying to commit suicide. This allegation is so absurd that even the well-known activist for Morgan´s liberation, Dr. Ingrid Visser, otherwise quite a critic of Loro Parque, has rejected the suicide attempt explanation in National Geographic magazine.
Loro Parque wishes to inform you that the behaviour seen in the video is entirely normal, both in the wild, and under human care. You can see examples of it in the wild here:
Under human care, orcas voluntarily slide out of the water and spend varying amounts of time in a completely relaxed state before deciding voluntarily to return to the water. The trainers do not need to induce them to leave or enter the water. This is exactly what Morgan is doing in the video, and she is not at all stressed, she has not been chased out of the water by the other orcas, and she certainly is not trying to commit suicide, an act uniquely confined to our own species, Homo sapiens.
Like all the animals in Loro Parque, the orcas have our total respect and affection, and receive superlative care, making sure of their optimum health status and overall well-being. We want you to know that if an orca does not engage in any particular activity, there is no way that it can be compelled to do so. The truth is the exact opposite: the orcas in Loro Parque engage in the activities voluntarily and find them stimulating.
It is a serious oversight by PETA not to have brought to your attention that Morgan has a serious hearing deficiency, something that the trainers in Loro Parque detected shortly after her arrival, and subsequently confirmed in tests conducted by three independent experts.
Healthy auditory function is a critical requirement for orcas to survive in the wild, because its impairment means that hunting and social cohesion of the individual are not possible. It can be speculated that this was the reason why Morgan was found isolated and in a moribund condition on the coast of The Netherlands. All experts in orcas will tell you that her release into the sea would result in her certain death. And it would not be a pleasant death.
From the overwhelmingly positive comments that Loro Parque receives from its at least one million visitors annually, we are totally sure that none of them would agree that they lack compassion for having visited the park and seen the orcas. In spite of the clear evidence to the contrary, PETA continues to promote its extremist agenda that Morgan and the other orcas in Loro Parque are suffering.
In August 2015, PETA denounced Loro Parque to the Spanish authorities for alleged maltreatment of the orcas. This resulted in an exhaustive inspection of Loro Parque by the Spanish national Nature Protection Service (Servicio de Protección de la Naturaleza-SEPRONA). The resulting report not only clears Loro Parque of the mistreatment of any animal, but goes further to praise Loro Parque for its highest standards of care.
Such evidence does not interest PETA, neither that Loro Parque is voted, by people from all walks of life, the first zoological park in Europe and second in the world under the ‘Traveller’s Choice Awards’ of TripAdvisor, and neither that Loro Parque receives top marks under the ‘Animal Welfare Guidelines’ of the major tour operator associations.
PETA also shows no interest in the important conservation work to help the protection of orcas and other cetaceans in the wild to which Loro Parque contributes through the Loro Parque Foundation. This conservation work has provided the key information necessary for the Spanish Government to decide on marine protected areas for the threatened population of orcas in the Strait of Gibraltar. It has also contributed to knowledge about the levels of persistent chemicals accumulating in orcas and other cetaceans in European waters.
The Loro Parque Foundation contributes US$1 million annually for conservation of wild animals and their habitats. To make a useful comparison, Loro Parque suggests that you try to find out what useful work PETA has done for the conservation of orcas and other cetaceans in the oceans. We are sure you will find it difficult to discover anything useful. Furthermore, perhaps you are unaware that PETA is accused of not being the caring, compassionate organisation for animals that it pretends to be:
Loro Parque hopes that this letter has provided you with objective information in comparison to the distortions that you might have previously received, and repeats its invitation for you to visit the park.
From its headquarters in Loro Parque, Tenerife, the Loro Parque Fundación is celebrating World Environment Day 2016 (WED2016) with the good news that, due to its actions in Bolivia, the Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis) is moving away from extinction.
This critically endangered species suffered a dramatic crash of its wild population due to the illegal trade of birds, especially in the 1970s and 1980s. The fact that the Loro Parque Fundación has saved it from extinction provides a good example of hope for celebrating WED2016.
In 1995, the Loro Parque Fundación commenced its financial support to its Bolivian partner organization, Armonía, for urgent actions to prevent any more illegal trafficking, and effectively to save the Blue-throated Macaw, a species endemic to Bolivia, from extinction. The situation was so critical, that even by the year 2000 there were probably fewer than 50 individuals remaining. However, due to the efforts of the project, little-by-little the situation began to improve, and now there could be as many as 300 wild Blue-throated Macaws. This is still a very small total, but over the years the changes in attitude catalyzed by the project have resulted in a cultural rejection of any more capture of the macaws.
The Blue-throated Macaw is found only in the seasonally flooded, flat grasslands of the department of Beni, north-east Bolivia. There, the species only survives because of the food and nesting opportunities provided by the forest which grows on small areas slightly raised above the flood-level. These “forest islands” are dominated by the Motacú palm, the tree species most important for the macaws. The project team carries out its work in this region, helping the authorities to keep vigilant against any possible trafficking, protecting the forest islands from damage by cattle, counting the macaws and protecting natural and artificial nests.
As well as the scientific work, there have been continuous activities with the schools and communities of the region. The project has an interpretation centre in the main city of Trinidad, and the educators make visits to schools in the city, as well as to remote areas of the Beni. In this region a large proportion of the human population is indigenous, with its own special customs and traditions. One important tradition relates to the “macheteros”, who are dancers with machetes, and dressed in typical costume, including a magnificent headdress made of the tail feathers of macaws. There are many headdresses, and it takes the feathers of 16 macaws, which are traded and killed, to make only one headdress.
To reduce this serious threat to the Blue-throated Macaws, the project developed artificial tail feathers of macaws and started an annual competition to award prizes to the communities with the best headdresses of artificial feathers. This has become a huge success, with the local people taking great pride in making their headdresses, and not using real macaw feathers. The results of this cultural change can be seen expressed spontaneously by the use of the image of the Blue-throated Macaw in everyday things, such as a logo for a restaurant, or a picture on a t-shirt or mug.
Even though there is still much to do, the Blue-throated Macaw is much safer, and worth celebrating for WED2016.
With regard to the publication of Dolphin Project on the video platform Vimeo, Loro Parque declares the following:
The video represents just a few minutes of images of Morgan, right after the end of a regular presentation in OrcaOcean. It is absolutely illogical and absurd to assume that the length and the quality of such video would be sufficient to make a conclusion and declaration of such nature.
In order to make any correct conclusion, it is a requirement that professional veterinarians and renowned experts in this field work intensely for an extended period of time conducting observations, diagnostic tests, scans etc. Having stated that, it is absolutely clear, that this declaration represents nothing more than a campaign launched by the anti-zoo activists that do not really pursue the well-being of the animals.
A voluntary stranding is a natural behavior of orcas living in the wild. 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 orcas at Loro Parque are trained to leave the water on their own accord. This behavior is used for manifold purposes, for example, for presenting the animals to the public, for conducting corporal check-ups, for inspecting their blowholes, as well as for testing hearing abilities of the orcas.
On numerous occasions, when the trainer gives free time to the animals so that they can enjoy the interacting that is part of their social behavior, the animals might repeat spontaneously the jumps they have learned, or leave the water or even slide across the stage. This is a totally natural behavior which is often accompanied by dynamic play. To speculate that this represents a sign of stress demonstrates utter ignorance about the natural behavior of this species.
Loro Parque would like to underline the importance of relying on scientifically proven data to make statements about animal well-being and not to rely on opinions of organizations that evidently only pursue their anti-zoo agenda.