Response to the publication in The Journal of Oral Biology “Tooth damage in captive orcas”

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These past couple of days much has been said about the paper published in The Journal of Oral Biology “Tooth damage in captive orcas”, written, among others, by John Jett (a former SeaWorld trainer and now a biologist), Ingrid Visser (an activist for the liberation of orcas and a researcher) and Jeffrey Ventre (a former SeaWorld trainer dismissed for misconduct and now a physiotherapist). At first glance, it could appear as a scientific work developed with the intention of getting to know better the different problems affecting orcas. However, once you take a deeper read, it turns out to be a simple statistic analysis of the pictures that Ingrid Visser and other activists have obtained of the orcas at both SeaWorld and Loro Parque. The most important conclusion of that study is that orcas in human care present dental damage, which needless to say is too obvious to write a whole scientific article about it.

We could wonder ‘How is this article going to improve the knowledge on the species and its conservation?’ The answer is quite simple: in no way. The dental deterioration of 50 orcas kept under human care is absolutely irrelevant for the conservation of the species. It would have been a lot more interesting to research, for instance, how chemical contamination affects wild orcas (like the investigation supported by Loro Parque in collaboration with Aarhus University to evaluate how toxic elements affect orcas immune system), specially since there is increasingly more evidence material that a contamination is a problem for the reproduction of wild orcas. Any other research on the consequences of noise in the sea, the availability of food or the interference of fisheries would have been extremely helpful for the species. But that does not seem to be important enough for Free Morgan Foundation, an organization with different goals: getting rid of zoos that keep orcas in their care, using any excuse they can find to archieve these goals.

If one reads closely the article “Tooth damage in captive orcas”, one will see that it does not demonstrate that orcas suffer any well-being issues because of their dental damage, it just speculates about such a possibility. It speculates about pain and discomfort, but it does not provide evidence, simply because it is not possible to verify any of these presumptions just by taking pictures 40 meters away from the orcas. What is this article useful for, then? Well, it is simply an excuse so that some of their authors can then make speculative statements that are not based on research. Thus, John Jett declares in Voice of the Orcas (specialized webpage against SeaWorld created after Blackfish by some former trainers): “We have found that more than 65% show moderate to severe dental damage on their lower jaws, mostly because they bite the concrete and steel surfaces of the tanks”. This is a huge speculation. If that behaviour was as frequent as he confirms, why have they not documented it photographically? How can they determine just by looking at a simple picture what the real cause of this dental damage is? On his part, Jeffrey Ventre assesses: “Dental damage does not only causes mortality and morbidity in captive orcas, but frequently leads to chronicle therapies with antibiotics which endanger orcas’ immune system”. This conclusion cannot be found in a scientific paper either, mainly because it is just a speculation with no veterinarian base at all.

It is not true that dental damage causes mortality or morbidity, and authors do not provide any scientific evidence of it. How many orcas have died because of dental damage at zoos? With an adequate dental hygiene there are no dental infections, so it is false that there are animals with chronic treatments (Dr. Ventre should know that treatments are never chronic and that this adjective is only used in a reference to diseases, so maybe he should revise his professional knowledge). Furthermore, the affirmation of those treatments affecting negatively their immune system is false. It is worrying that someone like him does not know the therapeutic and side effects of a medicine as ordinary as antibiotics. These kind of assessments, made without evaluating clinically any of the animals, and without revising their clinical history, are simply self-interested speculations. And what about Dr. Ingrid Visser? Just as the previous ones, those cannot be found in the scientific article nor in any of its conclusions. For Dr. Visser: “Those wounds must be extremely painful”

How can she assess something like that without having examined an animal, contradicting the opinion of marine mammals’ expert veterinarians with more than 40 years of experience? Well, simply because her only goal is demonstrating that zoos that maintain orcas in their care mistreat animals and cause them pain, no matter what science says or what the real truth is. All animals go through daily inspections and any inflammation, pain or (rarely) infection is treated by expert veterinarians. That is why, in zoos, these processes do not cause them pain, nor are of any importance for the animals. However, if those animals were to be freed or confined to sea pens where their control and treatment would be more difficult, and would consequently cause pain, uneasiness and infections.

One more time Free Morgan Foundation has used their confusion and misinformation strategy to attack zoos who keep orcas in their care. Unfortunately for them, we will not keep quiet and we will keep exposing their lies and their manipulation attempts.

Ingrid Visser and Rosina Liske

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Ingrid Visser and Rosina Lisker, who constantly lie about orca Morgan and her husbandry, visited Loro Parque during the last three days.

Visser is a marine biologist, but also radical activist profiting of the commercial use of wild orca populations and spreading misinformation about Morgan and her husbandry. She aims to start her own so-called “sanctuary” for whales, although she has no experience in proper husbandry of whales. The orca baby Bob died, after her “rescue” and improper husbandry in a swimming pool.

Lisker is Certified Paralegal (i.e. office manager in a law firm) and also has no professional experience in having orcas in her care. She’s a founding member Dolphinaria-Free Europe coalition. This radical animal rights coalation spreads lies about dolphinariums in general as we proved.

Both are part of the board of directors of the Free Morgan Foundation, which collects money and is very intransparent in how this money is used. Both influenced the misinforming movie “Inside The Tanks” – read the full analysis here. Free Morgan Foundation also cooperates with Born Free Foundation and other radical animal rights organizations.

Heather Rally worked as a veterinarian, but is now part of the Captive Animal Law Enforcement Department of the PETA Foundation, while she’s, same as Visser, part of a project aiming to found their own SeaWorld and calling it “sanctuary”. She was part of the PETA-Team, who visited Loro Parque in 2015 and used populism to accuse Loro Parque with animal cruelty and failed, because their misinformation wasn’t true. For example they said a mucus running out of the orcas eyes, would be not normal, while it is normal for every whale same in the wild an human care.

 Like thousands of other visitors, they had the possibility to enjoy their time at Orca Ocean. They saw healthy animals in a socially intact group. Morgan and all the other whales are doing great. All of the animals, as usual, participate in the show voluntarily and are in the care of renowned experts. The American Humane Association awarded Loro Parque, as first European zoo, with its certificate of 100% compliance. Other independent experts and organizations checked Loro Parque’s husbandry and assured that the orcas, like all other animals, are maintained using highest standards of animal welfare and scientific management.

The animal right industry, Visser, Lisker and Rally benefit respectively being part of, makes money with credulous animal lovers and betrays them with lies, misinformation and expensive marketing campaigns. While 100% of a donation to Loro Parque Fundación is used for conservation the members of this industry only use a small amout or even nothing of the donations for animals and their conservation. True experts will always support the husbandry of orcas at Loro Parque, because it benefits the animals which are in Loro Parque’s care, but also their wild counterparts in nature, while lies of untrustworthy experts don’t benefit a whale, but their own purse.

We are sure Visser, Lisker and Rally will lie again, but all true orca friends should know: every orca at Loro Parque is doing great and both only could use populist arguments to try to convince people of the opposite.

Open letter of the President of Loro Parque

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Dear Madam, Dear Sir,

Since the arrival of the female orca Morgan at Loro Parque, which was found dying on the shores of the Wadden Sea in the Netherlands, we have been the object of criticism and defamation campaigns by some activist groups. These minority organizations have no knowledge of Morgan’s actual situation and I do not think that they have an honest interest in her welfare. They only use Morgan as a battering ram to defame and discredit Loro Parque.

We recently received a communication from Ms. Tanja Breining of PETA Germany informing us that their signature campaign to release Morgan (started in June 2015) had reached 20,000 supporters. PETA Germany has been campaigning for years to release Morgan, even though they know that she has a hearing deficit, that her family group was never found and that she probably never learned the necessary skills to hunt or will be able to use her sonar to detect any prey. It is evident that Morgan cannot be released because if she returns to the sea, this would only lead to a slow agonizing death. And meanwhile PETA just makes campaigns; the reality is that Morgan (which arrived at Loro Parque at the request of the Dutch authorities to avoid its euthanasia) has found a true home under our care.

This situation has led us to undertake some actions and to request the support of our visitors by collecting signatures. In only two months (from June 30 to September 1, 2017) more than 75,000 visitors have given us their support, confirming with their signature that: “the animals of Loro Parque have a decent home, are well-off and are ambassadors of their wild species.” Each of these signatures represents an invaluable support for the work of Loro Parque and for Morgan to remain with her adoptive family receiving the care that she needs.

Along with this letter we send you the notarized document which certifies the existence and authenticity of the 75,000 signatures. It is important to point out that the collection campaign has been carried out in a short period of time and that, if it had continued, we would undoubtedly exceed 300,000 signatures each year.

The modern zoos, such as Loro Parque, are the only embassies for exotic animals and they have the essential task to transmit to the world population its beauty and how important it is to conserve nature. In these difficult times for the animals, it is important that we change our sensitivity and find a way to co-exist in harmony with the rest of the living beings on our planet.


Wolfgang Kiessling

Loro Parque’s President receives Global Humanitarian Award from American Humane

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Mr. Wolfgang Kiessling, president and founder of Loro Parque and Loro Parque Fundación, received the Global Humanitarian Award from American Humane, the United State’s first national humane organization, in recognition of his lifetime efforts to protect Nature and preserve its biodiversity. The award was given during the nationally televised 2017 American Humane Hero Dog Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, California (United States).

Mr. Kiessling is the first person to receive this recognition, which came after Loro Parque became the first European zoo to be Humane Certified™ by American Humane in May this year. The 13.5-hectare zoo passed a rigorous third-party audit that confirms Loro Parque is in compliance with American Humane Conservation standards, ensuring that the animals in the park enjoy the best conditions in areas such as health, housing, social interactions, adequate environments and proper preparation and protocols to manage medical or operational emergencies.

In this sense, Loro Parque has also been recently acknowledged as the “Best Zoo in the World” by TripAdvisor, an award given based upon thousands of independent reviews from the visitors that want to share their experiences in Loro Parque with other users of this worldwide platform. Furthermore, Loro Parque confirmed its full compliance with the Global Welfare Standards of the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) after being inspected by the auditors of Global Spirit and obtaining the highest possible rating of 100%. Among the members of ABTA are leaders in the tourism industry, such as Thomas Cook and TUI UK.

The protection, conservation and educational efforts of Loro Parque cannot be fully grasped without knowing about its research and conservation programs, which have been carried out since 1994 through the Loro Parque Fundación. Thanks to the support of Loro Parque, its partners, visitors, friends and collaborators, more than 17 million dollars have been directly invested for the development of conservation programs both in situ and ex situ.

Loro Parque, Best Zoo in the World According to TripAdvisor

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A prestigious travel portal TripAdvisor has recognized Loro Parque through their annual Travellers’ Choice 2017 as the BEST ZOOLOGICAL PARK IN THE WORLD, an award that is based on the independent evaluations of the users of this worldwide platform.

This award is yet another acknowledgement of Loro Parque’s efforts in the matters of conservation of biodiversity and raising awareness about the protection of the natural habitats of the wildlife on the planet. Having been chosen as the Number 1 Zoo in the World, it is a true recognition to Loro Parque for its commitment to animal welfare and joins the series of several other recent certifications received by the park. Thus, earlier this year Loro Parque received a HumaneCertified certificate from the renowned animal welfare organization American Humane that was conceded to Loro Parque for its humane treatment of the animals, converting it into the first zoo in Europe to have obtained this standard, with the highest rating. Furthermore, Loro Parque confirmed its full compliance with the Global Welfare Standards of the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) after being inspected by the auditors of Global Spirit and obtaining the highest possible rating of 100%. Among the members of ABTA are present the leaders of the tourism industry, such as Thomas Cook or TUI UK.

Loro Parque’s recognition by the users of Trip Advisor as the best in the world in animal welfare, considering the role of a modern zoo in the society, could not be fully grasped without the knowledge about its research and conservation program carried out since 1994 through the Loro Parque Fundación. Thanks to the support of Loro Parque, its partners, visitors, friends and collaborators, more than 17 million dollars have been directly invested for the development of conservation programs both in situ and ex situ, following the commitment ‘100% for Nature’.

Among many significant successes, including important achievements in the marine environment, Loro Parque Fundación’s work has made possible the salvation of nine species of parrots from their imminent extinction. This is the case, to give some examples, of the Blue-throated macaw, original of Beni, Bolivia, whose population has increased from 50 to 350 individuals with the project. Another good example that occurred in the same timeline is the evolution of Lear’s Macaw, whose population has increased from 22 to over 1.200 individuals, as well as the Yellow-eared parrot from Colombia, whose numbers have increased to over 4.000 individuals in present days, thanks to the efforts of the project to save the palm tree habituated by these parrots. In 1999, before Loro Parque Fundación started this project, there were only 82 individuals of this species left in the wild.

The results of the coordinated efforts between Loro Parque and Loro Parque Fundación, in their continuous commitment to innovation, are very clearly represented in the newest project KAZA, which is aimed at protecting the cross-border areas of five African countries. The goal is to ensure the conservation of the African lion, a highly endangered species whose numbers have decreased in the last 50 years from 100.000 to less than 25.000 (over 75%). Most recent arrival of three Angola lions to Loro Parque’s Lion’s Kingdom allows them to perform an important role as the ambassadors of their species and help raising awareness about the urgent need to protect the natural habitats, as well as to give the scientists an opportunity to learn and gather more information about their features and needs.

Almost 45 years after Loro Parque first opened its doors, with just 13.000 square metres and 30 employees; the company now obtains the successful results of its entrepreneurial policy that consists in reinvesting all profits into the continuous development and improvement of the park and ensuring the best animal welfare. More than 47 million visitors have visited Loro Parque in all these years, as it stays true to its firm commitment to demonstrate the beauty of the biodiversity in all its installations, paying attention to every detail, nowadays over the area of 135.000 square metres.

Taking into consideration that every year more than 700 millon people visit zoological parks worldwide, Trip Advisor’s recognition demonstrates, once again, that Loro Parque offers an unforgettable experience to its visitors who come from different parts of the world to discover for themselves this authentic Animal Embassy. This Award comes as a reinforcement to the most recent recognition of Siam Park, which was created following the same entrepreneurial policy for continual development, innovation and excellence, as the Best Water Park in the world for the fourth consecutive year.

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Paz Vega pasa el día en Loro Parque junto a su familia

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Paz Vega, an internationally known Spanish actress, has dedicated a whole day to Loro Parque while on holiday in Tenerife. Accompanied by her husband and her three children, she has toured the world’s best zoo according to TripAdvisor, and she has got to know its activities on protecting the natural habitats and raising awareness about the need for conservation of the biodiversity.

She took advantage of her visit to thank Loro Parque’s team by signing the VIP guest book, where she praised their work and assured Loro Parque is an international reference when it comes too modern and innovative zoos that put animal welfare, biodiversity conservation and environment protection first on their agenda.

Paz Vega, who raised to stardom thanks to her role as Laura on Spanish television show ‘Siete Vidas’, has won a Goya award as best stand-out actress, and has played the main role on many films and TV series, not only in Spain but also abroad.

After 14 years living in the United States, she has come back to Spain to release ‘Perdóname Señor’, a new TV series that has rapidly grown to be very popular. She is working on ‘Fugitivos’, soon to be released on Televisión Española (TVE), and on season 2 of ‘The OA’, internationally successful Brad Pitt’s production.

Paz Vega’s family finalized their visit by having lunch at Brunelli’s, considered to be one of Tenerife´s best steakhouses. It is conveniently located right in front of the Park, and they had a chance to try deliciously juicy meat cooked in an oven unique in the Canary Islands as it heats up to 800 degrees. On top of that, Brunelli’s wonderful views of the Atlantic Ocean guaranteed them an unforgettable gastronomic experience.

Activists Want Zoos to be an Endangered Species

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A recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences asserts that a sixth mass extinction is underway. Primarily pointing to the extinction of several species, as well as the deterioration of animal habitats, the paper warns that habitats and animal populations are decreasing at an alarming rate. The conservation of endangered and threatened species is a critical issue. Ironically, animal activist organizations who claim the moral high ground are seeking to destroy two of the primary tools for supporting animal conservation: zoos and aquariums.

These institutions support conservation while conducting research across the globe on species ranging from primates to insects and everything in-between. The aptly named Phoenix Zoo has spent 50 years bringing back the Arabian Oryx (think, desert deer) from the brink of extinction and has reintroduced the animal to its native habitat. The National Zoo in Washington, DC did the same with the golden lion tamarin. Countless other zoos have helped with these and the survival of other endangered species. Using the best science, zoos also have an international database of their animals to assist in breeding efforts and ensure the genetic diversity of future generations of animals.

Despite these benefits, PETA and similarly positioned animal groups are threatening lawsuits under the Endangered Species Act that would spell the end of zoos and aquariums in America. Their legal claim? Keeping animals in enclosures is a form of illegal “abuse” of endangered species. They call zoos “prisons.” Nonsense. Zoos are great for the animals that live in them. A recent study from the University of Zurich shows that more than 80% of mammalian species studied have longer lives in zoos than in the wild.

Groups like PETA love to point to elephants as a case study because they have shorter lives in captivity, but animals that are generally “long-lived” take much longer to study. New strategies implemented in the last 10 years won’t show up in data until after this generation of animals has died. So as scientists have learned more about elephants and improved their lives in zoos, the results of that labor haven’t been realized yet. It also ignores the fact that the public’s exposure to elephants in zoos and circuses likely help in efforts to end the ivory trade. The research done by veterinarians and zoologists help all animals in a given species, directly refuting claims by PETA that “while confining animals to zoos keeps them alive, it does nothing to protect wild populations and their habitats.” Probably the most famous example is the decades of research on Giant Pandas. Scientists around the world brought the beloved animal from the brink of extinction on the endangered species list to the much better “vulnerable species” list.

Not only will anti-zoo efforts harm the animals themselves, which are not fit to be in the wild, but they will also destroy valuable educational experiences and local communities. Children’s physical exposure to animals—not just from books or tablets—is a key learning experience. Moreover, zoos and aquariums added nearly $20 billion to the U.S. economy from nearly 170 million visitors in 2012.

It’s important to understand that ultimately groups like PETA (or its cousin, the Humane Society of the United States) don’t want to make better zoos. They want to phase out the use of animals—whether at a zoo, on a farm, or at a circus. Some activists go so far as to question the ethics of pet ownership. Serious issues are facing animals of all stripes and in all corners of the globe. If organizations like PETA and HSUS have their way, it will be more than zoos and aquariums that go extinct. Will Coggin is the research director for the Center for Consumer Freedom in Washington, D.C.

Premeditated and unpremeditated consequences of the new french ruling about cetacean maintenance in zoos

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Cetaceans kept in accordance with French zoo legislation and best professional practice

  • Zoological parks in France are licensed to operate by the government following inspections that ensure compliance with the EU Zoos Directive 1999/22 and specific requirements imposed by French law under the decree of 25 March 2004. The parks also must comply with additional detailed requirements under a 1981 Decree on the keeping of cetaceans.
  • The three parks in France currently keeping and exhibiting bottlenose dolphins — Planete Sauvage, Parc Asterix, and Marineland Antibes (which also keeps orcas) — are duly licensed by French authorities. They also all are accredited members of the European Association for Aquatic Mammals (EAAM) complying with best professional practices under Standards & Guidelines for bottlenose dolphins.

Dolphins in EAAM/EAZA Zoos are a Thriving, Self-Sustaining Population

  • Operating under the EAAM Standards & Guidelines and through mandatory cooperation in a species management program operated by the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA), EAAM parks have achieved a self-sustaining population (for more than the next 100 years) of bottlenose dolphins in Europe. The health and well-being of the dolphins in human care is proven by the fact that they live on average far longer in accredited zoological parks than in the wild and are reproducing. Indeed, more than 70% of the dolphins in EAAM parks today were born in human care. There has been no capture of dolphins from the wild for more than twenty years for exhibition in France. Because of their relative longevity in zoos, however, animals that were taken from the wild many, many years ago are still alive and well. Of the 28 dolphins currently kept in France, 22 were born in zoos. Of the 97 dolphins born in European zoos frm 2005-2015, 15 were born in France.

Parks support modernizing the 1981 Decree on keeping of cetaceans

  • Representatives of French zoological parks agree that the 1981 decree is outdated and therefore participated in a working group in good faith for more than two years to facilitate a positive revision of the decree based on peer-reviewed scientific evidence, technical information, best professional practices, and hands-on experience with successfully keeping cetaceans in human care from the animal health and welfare perspectives.
  • The stated purpose of the working group established to examine the 1981 Decree was to provide requirements to ensure a high level of keeping and care of cetaceans to meet their biological and health needs and permit the animals to express their natural behaviours.
  • Much progress was made, however, certain proposals were not based on the needs of the animals or science and may be technically impossible to achieve.

Decree abandons focus on animal welfare and aims to close all cetacean facilities in France

  • On the eve of the second round of presidential elections, Mme. Segolene Royal, then Minister of the Environment, Energy and Oceans, issued a press communication in which she announced that she had signed a new decree. This appears to have been done without any assessment of impacts on animal welfare or socio-economic impacts of the proposals that had been under consideration. The Decree was published on 6 May 2017 and took effect the day thereafter.
  • Clearly evidencing the political nature of her intervention, the press communication states that the Decree was put in place with the assistance of multiple named animal rights and campaign organisations. The Minister gratuitously inserted in the opening article the need to prevent “suffering” of the animals — when observable evidence shows that the animals are not suffering but are thriving. She inserted a ban on the keeping of cetaceans and introduced a total ban on reproduction in direct contradiction to the original purpose of ensuring optimal natural behaviours.

Requirements are Extreme, not Evidence-based, and Impossible within transition deadlines

  • The adopted Decree requires significant changes to facilities that are not based on welfare needs. The level of change required would necessitate the relocation of the animals out of their familiar and government-approved habitats during construction. As no other zoo could likely keep all the animals in their current social groups, significant stress and risk is entailed.
  • The size of pools must not only be significantly increased in volume and depth but also allow for underwater viewing. Even if permits could be obtained — which is not a simple matter -the massive changes required could not be achieved in the short 3 years provided.
  • The Decree also prohibits the use of chlorine, which is used in small amounts together with ozone in zoological parks to eliminate bacteria and ensure high water quality for the animals. Eliminating chlorine entirely would require significant changes to water filtration systems and would certainly not be possible within the six month period allowed for compliance. Moreover, a backup system — in all likelihood involving chlorine — would almost certainly be required to ensure the safety of the animals.
  • Furthermore, the new Decree removes any incentive to make the kinds of investments that it would require or even voluntary enhancement of educational or conservation programs related to these important ocean ambassadors because it includes a new and sweeping prohibition on the keeping and reproduction of cetaceans.

Prohibition on keeping cetaceans forces closure, not investment in the interest of animals

  • The far-reaching prohibition on cetaceans in France is created by banning the keeping of cetaceans other than those present in the parks as of the effective date of the decree and then prohibiting reproduction even of the existing animals.
  • The prohibition means that from 7 May 2017 no stranded cetacean can be rescued and rehabilitated in France.
  • The Decree also dooms the dolphins and orcas currently in French parks because it does not allow cetaceans from zoological parks outside of France to be brought into France even if needed to ensure appropriate social groupings. This means that the French zoological parks are compelled to manage the existing animals until their deaths in dwindling, static and, over time, potentially dysfunctional social groups.
  • Equally, without two-way cooperation, French facilities cannot expect other zoos to keep  cetaceans currently housed in France to allow the construction required by the decree.

Decree Blocks EU cooperation in the interest of the animals and impacts EU population

  • The prohibitions not only dooms the grandfathered cetaceans in France but negatively impact the entire population of cetaceans in human care in European zoological parks because the animals in France are effectively removed from the gene pool of bottlenose dolphins managed at the European level for the benefit of the European population.

Closure of cetacean exhibits detrimental to education, tourism and local economies

  • While neither bottlenose dolphins nor orcas are endangered species, they serve as powerful ambassadors and focal points for public education about the state of the world’s oceans and seas and human impacts on them and their inhabitants. Without these icons of the oceans, parks will not be able to carry on with their conservation and education programs for the benefit of the French public and the many tourists that visit the parks.
  • More than 1000 people are employed directly or indirectly as a result of the keeping of cetaceans in French parks. These are full time professional jobs as well as part time jobs during the high season employing local youth. Visitors to the parks also contribute to the local economy as they patronize nearby hotels, restaurants and other businesses.

In short, the combination of new requirements with impossible timeframes paired with the prohibition on keeping and breeding cetaceans threatens the ability of the French parks to maintain their marine mammal programs, including the keeping of dolphins – precisely the political goal of the former Minister and her non-governmental partners.

The Decree should be invalidated with the result that the 1981 Decree would remain in force. A serious, evidence based review should be undertaken to identify the aspects of the 1981 Decree which need to be updated. Any necessary revisions should be made in accordance with the animals’ interests and scientific evidence to ensure that the keeping of cetaceans in France is in accordance with recognized and proven best professional practices and allows for continuing cooperation with zoological parks across Europe.

Loro Parque team says goodbye to the female dolphin Sanibel

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This morning our dolphin Sanibel passed away in the advanced age of about 37 years. Today, our joy of yesterday about the birth of three sea lions became greatly clouded.

Sanibel was given to the ULPGC for necropsy by Professor Antonio Fernández. In the next few days we will know the cause of death. We are losing with Sanibel one of the founding animals and we are sorry that nothing could be further done for her.

The CITES authority in the Netherlands reasserts Loro Parque in the Morgan case

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orca Morgan

It sounds absurd that after 7 years since Morgan appeared dying on the Dutch coast and five judicial pronouncements stated that her return to the sea would mean her death and her deafness has been proved, there are still organizations committed to denounce Loro Parque demanding her release. But that is a well-known strategy of some self-proclaimed animalistic groups: seeking the impact on the media and social networks to get attention and funds. Although they know perfectly well that Morgan has no chance of being released and that there is a firm sentence of the highest Dutch court that ratifies it since 2014.

The Free Morgan Foundation has got us used to the scandal strategy. They file a complaint against Loro Parque, they publish campaigns in the media creating social alarm and worrying honest people who love animals and so they obtain funds for their organization. But when the administrations dismiss and reject these allegations as unfounded they never recognize their mistake and never make it public. They do not even put negative resolutions on their website to acknowledge its members. That is fraud.

Morgan Loro ParqueThis week, the Dutch CITES Authority has dismissed the last appeal filed by the Free Morgan Foundation raised on the alleged illegality of Morgan’s CITES permit. A few months ago that same institution responded that the charge of the Free Morgan Foundation was unfounded since Loro Parque carries out scientific research with orcas and this it is not incompatible with education and awareness activities they promote with the permit issued in 2011. The CITES Spanish authority (also where the Free Morgan Foundation sent its protest) responded in the same terms in January of this year: “The transfer of the whale Morgan from Hharderwijk Dolfinarium in Holland to the facilities of Loro Parque in Tenerife in 2011 was carried out fulfilling the provisions of Article 9 of Regulation (EC) 338/97 and endorsed by the Dutch State Council ruling that the return of the animal to the ocean was neither an alternative nor a satisfactory solution”. However, do not bother looking, you will not find this information on the Free Morgan Foundation page.

Unfortunately we know this will not be the last complaint, we are sure that the Free Morgan Foundation and some other minority groups will continue using the same scandal strategy simply because it’s economically profitable for them.

Meanwhile, Morgan is happy with her new family, has almost reached adult size and weighs more than 2,100 kg. Her well-being is beyond doubt. During a recent audit at Loro Parque by the American Humane Association, an organization that looks out for the well-being of animals around the world, it has been detailed that: “The activity and energy of killer whales is comforting. Coaches conduct six training sessions and three daily presentations; this stimulation facilitates a well-being exceptionally positive for the six orcas.” This, along with obtaining the highest rating (100%) of the British Association of Travel Agents (ABTA) welfare standards audited by Global Spirit, is what most satisfies us, the people who work at Loro Parque every day for the welfare of Morgan and the thousands of animals under our care.