Loro Parque facilitates the development of a method to study how great whales hear

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A recent study of Loro Parque’s orcas published in The Journal of Acoustical Society of America has perfected the methodology that helps assess the hearing ability of great whales, a technique that is very complex due to the enormous layer of fat that covers their brains.  For this purpose, synthetic sound waves have been developed that take into account the anatomical characteristics of the inner ear of the animals, in such a way that at the same time they stimulate all the neurons in charge of detecting the different sound frequencies.  This produces a more intense brain response in cetaceans, which is easier to measure through the fat.

 This methodology opens the door to the study of the acoustic capacity of the great whales, something that so far has not been possible, and that is critical when it comes to establishing how the growing underwater noise levels are affecting them.  The impact of humanity in causing the increasing intensity of noise in the oceans represents a great threat for cetaceans and these types of studies are essential so that countries and international organisms can establish measures of protection and limitation of noise to protect whales.

This study has also served to confirm Morgan’s deafness, which had already been detected by her caregivers and verified by other previous scientific studies.  The technique used on this occasion is the most sensitive in existence, so the total absence of Morgan’s brain response to sounds leaves no doubt that this orca, rescued near dead in the Netherlands, has a deafness problem, the cause of which is unknown.

Ever since Morgan’s deafness was first detected, Orca Ocean’s team of caregivers at Loro Parque designed a system based on gestures and lights that they use to communicate with her and that have allowed her total integration into the orca group.  Nowadays, Morgan is in perfect welfare conditions in the Park and has even had her first calf, Ula, which will turn one year old this September.

Anti-Captivity Arguments Scientifically Debunked

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It is sad but true: nowadays, our World is facing the strongest environmental crisis ever, and its effects are causing the sixth major extinction of the planet Earth. More than 7,700,000,000 human beings are exhausting the World’s natural resources, extinguishing species, changing the climate, polluting the oceans, and expelling the animals from its natural habitats.

Thus, according to the UN’s most recent report  1,000,000 species could be threatened with extinction while nature’s dangerous decline is called ‘unprecedented’ with species extinction rates ‘accelerating’.

In this dramatic situation, the educational, scientific and conservation roles of the modern zoos are essential to counter-fight the dramatic effects of this environmental crisis, and to lead a new animal protection spirit. The opportunity to have close encounters with animals is a powerful tool, which creates sympathy and love for the wild animals and their ecosystems.

Paradoxically, zoos and dolphinaria are facing the hardest attacks in their history when the nature needs them most. A small group of organizations, but very effective in terms of communication, is constantly trying to destroy the concept of a zoo, and putting in risk its very existence. In the last years, we are regularly exposed to smear campaigns against zoos worldwide, mainly aimed in getting as much media attention as possible. Their intention is to create big scandals, which allow them to get an enormous amount of donations that will not serve to save endangered species from extinction, nor to provide better welfare to animals under human care.

It is well known that this organizations use the lion’s share of the donations they receive to pay high salaries, hire very expensive lawyers, travel first class and stay at luxury hotels. When this smear campaigns strategy is analysed, the question arises: Are the attacks based in real facts? Or are they just myths without scientific basis? To help answer these questions, this document is a compilation of the accusations and arguments used against the keeping of animals, and specially cetaceans, in zoos.

Every argument is analysed under the most updated scientific knowledge to check if they are based on real facts or they are simply myths used to persuade good-hearted people to attack zoos. In the light of this science-based information, it is clear that the arguments against the zoos and dolphinaria are not sufficient to sacrifice them. We cannot afford to destroy zoos, on the contrary, in the actual situation if they would not exist it should be invented urgently.

You can find the full document through a link below and do not hesitate to send us your feedback:

https://www.loroparque.com/pdf/encyclopedia.pdf

Kiessling: “Today, the only representatives of exotic animals are the zoos”

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Source: https://www.efeverde.com/noticias/kiessling-loro-parque-animales-exoticos-zoos/

EFE/Ramón de la Rocha

Wolfgang Kiessling, the founder of Loro Parque, highlights the role of zoos in terms of conservation and biodiversity and argues that, today, these facilities are “The only representatives of exotic wild animals”.

“Have you heard lately that a dolphin is in danger of extinction? No, there are as many as ever before. Why? Because we’ve managed to create affection for those impressive animals” argues Kiessling (Gera, Germany, 1937) in statements to Efe.

Well-managed zoos save species

The president of Loro Parque maintains that zoos “raise awareness” especially in youngsters, and have allowed “many animals” to survive extinction.

“Zoos are important genetic banks. In Loro Parque, for example, we have saved, in collaboration with other NGOs, nine species of parrots. Nine species that today would no longer exist if we hadn’t worked for them” he asserts.

Faced with critical opinions and anti-zoological activist groups, the German businessman says that the animals in Loro Parque “are happy” because “if not, I wouldn’t have a zoo”.

Animal wellbeing

Kiessling also points out that the “continuous audits” carried out “by experts from all over the world” guarantee the welfare of the animals in the facilities of his group which “almost always” receive “one hundred percent” on compliancy checks.

In this regard, the director of the Loro Parque Foundation, Javier Almunia, says that captivity does not cause discomfort in animals, which are always surrounded “by the best conditions and the best expertise.

“Evidently, there is a very clear change in behaviour: animals don’t have to hunt and they don’t have to defend themselves against predators, but that doesn’t affect their welfare” he points out.

In the same vein, the founder of Loro Parque says that an animal’s living space is directly proportional to its need to find food in a territory, so “If the animal receives enough food, even if that territory is smaller, it will be happy” he maintains.

Budgets and projects

Kiessling also targets organisations such as PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), which he accuses of managing large budgets but “doing nothing for the welfare of the animals.

“In PETA they work with a lot of lies and falsehoods, and I think the world will soon understand that the good guys aren’t them, but us, who work day by day for the animals” he argues.

Kiessling also pointed out that the Loro Parque group allocates money through its Foundation every year to fund conservation projects for endangered species such as parrots, cetaceans, sharks and turtles.

Since 1994, The Loro Parque Fundación has allocated a total of €19.7 million to these concepts and this year has launched the CanBio project together with the Canary Islands Government, with the aim of studying climate change in the sea, ocean acidification and its effects on the marine biodiversity of the archipelago.

Sustainability of the installations

The German businessman also reminds us that Loro Parque was one of the first companies to eliminate single-use plastics from its facilities. “It’s quite expensive to switch everything to biodegradable products, but for the sake of protecting nature, we did it,” he says.

For almost 10 years now, part of the zoo in Puerto de La Cruz has been powered by photovoltaic energy, although Kiessling hopes that within a year the entire park will be self-sufficient and will be able to draw on 100 per cent renewable energy.

In relation to the controversy with the orca Morgan, which was transferred to Loro Parque in November 2011, Almunia points out that the Free Morgan Foundation (an organisation that demands the release of this cetacean) has, for the tenth time, lost their case against Loro Parque and the Dutch Government, which originally authorised her transfer to Tenerife.

“We don’t know what else needs to be done to get some organisations to accept that it was correctly carried out from the beginning” since Morgan was rescued, dying, on the Dutch coast, underlines Almunia, who reaffirms the claim that returning her to nature “would be a death sentence” for the orca. EFE

ggh/jmr

Miss North launches at Loro Parque

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The facilities of Orca Ocean in Loro Parque, have this morning, Friday July 12, hosted the official presentation of Miss North 2019, which will take place on Thursday August 1 in the borough of Los Realejos, in an event framed within the extensive program of the Fiestas del Carmen of that town.

In this edition of the contest a total of 23 contenders will participate. They were presented in the zoo that is recognised as the best in the world in the presence of José David Cabrera and Carolina Toste, respectively the Los Realejos Councillors for Fiestas and Tourism, and Sandro Pérgola, Director of Miss North.

During the press conference, Pergola stressed that, thanks to the sum and strength of their two events, Miss North and Miss South, they have managed to bring together 28 of 31 municipalities on the island of Tenerife, which have decided to firmly back the aforementioned events together with numerous private companies.

“It’s much more than just a conventional beauty pageant. We have been demonstrating this for many years. Our dynamics in organising the event with its multiple activities clearly mark the difference from other contests. Everyone knows Miss North, it’s a brand that was already firmly established by the late 90’s” said Pergola.

This year’s gala will be held at the Plaza San Agustín de Los Realejos, on Thursday 1 August from 9.30pm. The crowd capacity of this edition is limited and entry is by invitation only. The invitations will be given in exchange for receipts for purchases made in the ‘comercios con corazon’ (stores with heart) of Los Realejos.

This municipality has five main shopping areas (La Cruz Santa, Icod el Alto, Realejo Alto, San Agustín and Toscal Longuera) “And this is a formula that will ensure that in the days running up to the gala, the Miss North event will encourage the spending of over €5,000 in our shops among those seeking to obtain an invitation, as it’s the only formula to access the venue with a maximum of 500 invitations available” according to recent statements by the Mayor of Los Realejos, Manuel Dominguez.

“We are aware that young people from this and other municipalities in the region are taking part, which generates expectation and the desire to share this special night with family and friends, who will want to be present and therefore must necessarily have enjoyed the commercial offer of Los Realejos to obtain an invitation, an initiative that we have already used successfully in other similar events, being well valued by local businesses” he added.

Candidates 2019: María Díaz, Felisa Correa, Estefanía García, Nayarí Álvarez, Victoria Guzmán, Alexandra Chandiramani, Elizabeth Jorge, Carolina Siverio, Nadia Suárez, Norely Pérez, Nira Domínguez, Sandra Pérez, Esther Hernández, Gara García, Gisela Aguiar, Ainara Rivero, Tamara Martín, Lucía Díaz, Marta Fariña, Fátima González, Daniela Sánchez, Ana Isabel de Luis and María Vera.

New defeat for Free Morgan Foundation in the Netherlands

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This morning, July 10th, the Dutch judiciary has ruled in favor of Loro Parque in the case of the orca Morgan, confirming that the CITES permit should not be annulled as was requested by the Free Morgan Foundation. This resolution of the Supreme Court of the Netherlands is now the 10th time that the authorities decide against the claims formulated by the activist organization.

Once again, on this occasion, as was already proclaimed repeatedly by all the relevant administrative and judicial institutions, the Dutch Supreme Court emphasized that Loro Parque has installations of the utmost quality and offers excellent wellbeing conditions to the animals under its care.

Furthermore, the resolution recognises that there is no limitation for the orca Morgan to breed; one of the fundamental aspects of criticism on the part of the FMF that suggested that a commercial use of the animal is taking place. Thus, the court also decided that the fact that Loro Parque carries out other activities, apart from purely scientific and educational ones, which are the foundation of the CITES permit, there are not any impediments for them. Therefore, the court does not see a reason to invalidate the permit.

For Loro Parque, it is very important that both the judicial and administrative bodies with competence in this area recognise and highlight the excellent conditions of our Parque, because these affirmations come from bodies and authorities that are absolutely impartial and independent, and this, despite the continuous and denigrating campaigns of these radical groups that constantly strive to defame and discredit us with their lies and falsehoods, distorting the truth, and showing clear contempt for the courts when they do not decide in their favour.

In this context, the zoological institution recognised as the Best Zoo in the World would like to remind Free Morgan Foundation that if the CITES authorities, the European Parliament, and the Dutch Judiciary are all telling them that they are wrong, it is because they are, in fact, wrong.

Therefore, instead of obsessing with the orca Morgan, perhaps they should dedicate their efforts to protecting the endangered populations of orcas. For the tenth time: it is high time to stop wasting time and resources of the Spanish, Dutch and European institutions.

Morgan’s History

The orca Morgan has been in the care of Loro Parque since 2011.  The decision to transfer her to OrcaOcean’s spacious and fully-equipped facilities in Loro Parque was taken in order to provide her with adequate living conditions and, in particular, to meet her needs for social interaction.  It should be borne in mind that this decision was taken at that time by the Dutch authorities (based on the opinions of independent experts) because Morgan’s return to nature was an unviable option and the only other option for this animal was euthanasia.

Loro Parque is supported by all the relevant administrative bodies (CITES in the Netherlands and Spain, the Spanish Zoos Inspectorate and the Spanish animal welfare authorities), which reject FMF’s demands and interpretations of the CITES permit.  Therefore, FMF is the only entity that supports the position of releasing the animal.

Morgan’s state of health

For the past years, Morgan has been living in Loro Parque under the care of a team of veterinary professionals and caregivers; her overall condition is excellent.  She has gained more than 1,100 kg since her arrival at the Parque and her size is now comparable to that of other females her age.

Although she was diagnosed as deaf by an independent group of researchers, her caregivers have been able to establish a complete communication system using a network of lights – a pioneering and unique method worldwide, that has been developed for an orca with a disability.  Thanks to the dedicated attention of her caregivers and this adapted system, she is able to join the group in all its activities despite her condition.

Morgan is completely integrated in the group and has established social relationships with all the orcas at Loro Parque. Moreover, she has even had her first offspring by the name of Ula, who will turn one year old this September.

Accreditations

Loro Parque is an accredited zoological facility as defined by the European Zoos Directive, strictly following all applicable laws and regulations regarding this practice.  Loro Parque is inspected annually by the competent authorities.  Loro Parque also applies the highest standards in orca management, as accredited by the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the European Association of Aquatic Mammals, as well as by independent organizations such as American Humane, ABTA, Biosphere Parks, etc. In 2017 and 2018, Loro Parque was awarded the title of Best Zoo in the World by the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards.

For a full verdict, please visit: https://www.raadvanstate.nl/uitspraken/@116356/201804732-1-a3/?highlight=201804732/1/A3#toonpersbericht

More information at: http://www.loroparque.com/morgan/