The myth of the dental damage

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Dental damage occurs in some cetaceans under human care, there are dolphins and orcas that can have some of their teeth wear or even broken. This situation has never been hidden, on the contrary it was identified as a veterinary concern and published in a scientific journal almost 30 years ago[1], and since then several therapies have been developed to avoid the tooth pain and mitigate the risk of infection. On the other hand, dental damage is not exclusive of cetaceans under human care, the very same lesions can be found in wild dolphins and killer whales [2] [3].  Criticism against dolphinaria is misleading, as anti-zoo groups never mention dental damage in wild cetaceans when they expose teeth wear and broken tooth of dolphins and orcas under human care.

In this case the myth is not about the dental damage itself, but about its causes. Recently it has become a common argument for some anti-zoo groups to use dental damage as the definitive prove of boredom, pain and suffering. They have even presented dental problems as deadly hazard for cetaceans under human care. Those are just unfounded speculations, as there is not a single scientific study that relates dental damage in killer whales and boredom, nor about cetacean deaths related with dental problems. On the other hand, it is highly speculative to assume that dental damage produces pain or suffering, as it has been proven with other animals [4], the pain can only be assessed with behavioural studies.  It is not possible to infer pain from a picture of a broken tooth.

Dental wear has been described as a common phenomenon in wild cetaceans [5]. There are many documented cases of dental damage in wild cetaceans for many different reasons (abrasive food, manipulation of abrasive objects, hunting prey, agression, etc.). Its occurrence is influenced by tooth anatomy, animal physiology, biomechanics and behaviour. When the frequencies of occurrence, location and intensity of dental wear in ten species of dolphins from southern Brazil was evaluated only one species presented less than 50% of teeth worn[6]. This is also the case for killer whales. The first Antarctic killer whale stranded in 1974 had 25 broken teeth [7], a killer whale stranded in South Africa in 1969 presented a severe asimetric teeth wear [8].

Jaw abscesses and dental disease are a commonly observed problem in stranded killer whales in Washington state [9] and are caused by heavy tooth wear down to the gum line resulting in exposure and infection of the pulp cavity and surrounding tissue [10] [11] [12]. The earliest scientific publications referring this dental damage in killer whales are 70 years old. The dental problems in the wild populations of killer whales are so well known by the scientists worldwide, that has been considered even in the recovery plans for Southern Resident Killer Whales [13] and also for the killer whales in Gibraltar Strait[14]. In killer whales teeth typically have extremely limited function in food processing, so how can a broken teeth compromise the welfare of an animal? If the broken tooth does not produce any pain, inflammation or infection, there will not be significant effect in the welfare of an individual.

In 2017 a scientific paper describing the dental damage in captive killer whales was published based on an exhaustive analysis of multiple pictures of several killer whales in zoo settings. There wasn’t an exhaustive analysis of the whole population of killer whales under human care, but biased to some selected individuals. And there was no data from wild killer whales for comparison, not a detailed discussion regarding the abundant scientific literature about tooth damage in stranded orcas [15].  The main goal of the paper was to infer pain and suffering from a set of pictures, but without performing any other behavioural study [16], or veterinary diagnostic. As a result, the conclusions were highly speculative and deem invalid to assess the welfare status of the killer whales.

When the anti-zoo groups speculate about the pain produced by a broken tooth they fail to consider the same (and very frequent) situation in a wild killer whale. Can you imagine how painful it must be having dental damage and infections and not being able to visit a dentist in your entire life? Well this is the situation of wild killer whales, many of them with severe tooth damage [17] [18] [19] [20](even worst that the damage you can see in any killer whale under human care), but they would never be able to get veterinary care. They have to live with these painful wounds without any relief every single day of their entire lives. If somebody is truly concerned about the welfare problems produced by dental damage, they should be focusing on the wild killer whales. Under human care the welfare of the orcas with dental damage is not compromised, as veterinarians can relief the pain and treat the lesions avoiding inflammation or even infections. Obviously, as any veterinarian can confirm, all the treatments are carried out without any pain, using local anaesthetics. The fact is that when a tooth drill has to be performed (rarely) the animals participate voluntarily; keeping the mouth open while the procedure is carried out.

[1] Graham, M. S., & Dow, P. R. (1990). Dental care for a captive killer whale, Orcinus orca. Zoo Biology, 9(4), 325–330.

[2] Ford, J. K., Ellis, G. M., Matkin, C. O., Wetklo, M. H., Barrett-Lennard, L. G., & Withler, R. E. (2011). Shark predation and tooth wear in a population of northeastern Pacific killer whales. Aquatic Biology, 11(3), 213-224

[3] Rica, C. (1996). A report of killer whales (Orcinus orca) feeding on a carcharhinid shark in Costa Rica. Marine Mammal Science, 12(4), 606-611.

[4] Fleming, M., & Burn, C. C. (2014). Behavioural assessment of dental pain in captive Malayan sun bears (Helarctos malayanus). Animal Welfare, 23(2), 131–140.

[5] Loch, C., & Simões-Lopes, P. C. (2013). Dental wear in dolphins (Cetacea: Delphinidae) from southern Brazil. Archives of Oral Biology, 58(2), 134–141.

[6] Loch, C., & Simões-Lopes, P. C. (2013). Dental wear in dolphins (Cetacea: Delphinidae) from southern Brazil. Archives of Oral Biology, 58(2), 134–141.

[7] Castello, H. P., Tomo, A. P., & Panizza, J. S. (1974). First Antarctic record of a killer whale stranding. Sci Rep Whales Res Inst. Retrieved from

[8] Best, P. B., Meÿer, M. A., Thornton, M., Kotze, P. G. H., Seakamela, S. M., Hofmeyr, G. J. G., … Steinke, D. (2014). Confirmation of the occurrence of a second killer whale morphotype in South African waters. African Journal of Marine Science, 36(2), 215–224.

[9] Wiles, G. J. (2004). Washington State status report for the killer whale. (Orcinus orca). Washington Department Fish and Wildlife, Olympia. 106pp. 2004., (November), 106.

[10] Carl, G. C. (1946). A school of killer whales stranded at Estevan Point, Vancouver Island. Provincial Museum of Natural History and Anthropology.

[11] Tomilin, A. G. (1967). Mammals of the USSR and adjacent countries. vol. 9, Cetacea. Israel Program Sci. Transl, (1124).

[12] Caldwell, D. K., & Brown, D. H. (1964). Tooth wear as a correlate of described feeding behavior by the killer whale, with notes on a captive specimen. Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Sciences63(3), 128-140.

[13] Marine, N., Service, F., & Office, N. R. (2008). Recovery Plan for Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcinus orca), 1–251.

[14] Onservación, P. L. A. N. D. E. C., Orcas, D. E. L. A. S., Orca, O. R., El, E. N., Spañol, M. E. E., Adyacente, Y. A. T., … Gauffier, P. (n.d.). “p c ( o ) m e a .”

[15] Jett, J., Visser, I. N., Ventre, J., Waltz, J., & Loch, C. (2017). Tooth damage in captive orcas (Orcinus orca). Archives of Oral Biology, 84, 151–160.

[16] Fleming, M., & Burn, C. C. (2014). Behavioural assessment of dental pain in captive Malayan sun bears (Helarctos malayanus). Animal Welfare, 23(2), 131–140.

[17] Wiles, G. J. (2004). Washington State status report for the killer whale. (Orcinus orca). Washington Department Fish and Wildlife, Olympia. 106pp. 2004., (November), 106.

[18] Carl, G. C. (1946). A school of killer whales stranded at Estevan Point, Vancouver Island. Provincial Museum of Natural History and Anthropology.

[19] Tomilin, A. G. (1967). Mammals of the USSR and adjacent countries. vol. 9, Cetacea. Israel Program Sci. Transl, (1124).

[20] Caldwell, D. K., & Brown, D. H. (1964). Tooth wear as a correlate of described feeding behavior by the killer whale, with notes on a captive specimen. Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Sciences63(3), 128-140.


The myth of the rake marks

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This absurd idea of using the rake marks as an evidence of unnatural aggression in cetaceans under human care is quite recent. In 2012 the Free Morgan Foundation was desperately fighting against the decision of the Dutch court to transport Morgan to Loro Parque. Despite Morgan was transferred on November 2011, the court case continued in Holland until 2014, when the Raad van State (Dutch Supreme Court) ruled that the transport of Morgan was absolutely lawful (and the only way for her to avoid euthanasia).

But, from the very beginning, Free Morgan Foundation was opposing to the transport and stubbornly requested to the Dutch authorities her release or her immediate transfer to a sanctuary (that didn’t exist in 2011 and still not existing nowadays). That’s the reason why in 2011 Free Morgan Foundation started a campaign against Loro Parque, trying to prove at any cost that Morgan was in a terrible situation in Orca Ocean. With that only goal in mind Ingrid Visser authored a non-scientific report [1] were she tried to depict the enormous suffering of Morgan at Loro Parque.  That was the first time she described the rake marks as an evidence of aggression in captive settings, suggesting that wild killer whales were gentle giants that never bite each other. This was the beginning of the myth.

This misleading story telling was aimed just in destroying the reputation of Loro Parque, arguing that Morgan was in danger, but there is no sound science behind it. There is no scientific literature comparing the rake marks in wild and captive cetaceans, hence there is no way to elucidate if the aggression is enhanced under human care.

What is absolutely clear in the scientific literature is that rake marks are frequently found in wild cetaceans. The first scientific description of rake marks in wild killer whales is from 1978 when the first behavioural analysis of the species was published [2]. If any catalogue of orca photo-identification is consulted, rake marks appear in almost every single individual [3] [4]. Rake marks are so common in cetaceans that recently, Marley et al., used them to identify different levels of aggression in wild dolphins [5]. In this scientific study it was demonstrated that 60% of the dolphins had rake marks, and the rest (40%) were usually young animals hence not likely to get involved in aggressive behaviours. In practice that demonstrates that any cetacean has rake marks, and it can be easily confirmed with a simple search in a scientific database, which provides examples of studies that use rake marks to describe and measure aggression in wild cetaceans [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11], and they are considered so common for the researchers that are even described as “natural marks” [12].

Ironically that’s not something that Ingrid Visser ignored when she wrote her report against Loro Parque in 2011, as she authored in 1998 a scientific paper describing prolific rake marks and collapsed dorsal fins in some orcas found in New Zealand [13]. But Visser didn’t mention any of the scientific papers describing rake marks in wild cetaceans when she presented her report to the Dutch Court in 2012. In fact, when she discussed the appearance of the same kind of marks in Morgan on this report, she also forgot to mention her previous research on prolific rake marks in wild killer whales in New Zealand. That clearly indicates a lack of ethics, and proves without any doubt that sometimes even scientists prefer to prioritize their political goals over their scientific knowledge.

The most recent scientific paper on rake marks [14] evidence that aggression directed to wild killer by the members of their own pod occurs and varies with age, sex and ecotype. The authors found rake marks virtually in any studied killer whale in the northeastern Pacific population, demonstrating the fact that rake marks in killer whales are the natural consequence of social aggression. Hence, the appearance of rake marks in whales under human care should not be considered a sign of bad welfare, but the consequence of a natural behaviour.

[1] Visser, I. (2012) Report on the Physical & Behavioural Status of Morgan, the wild-born orca held in captivity at Loro Parque, Tenerife, Spain. Unpublished
[2] Martinez, D. R., & Klinghammer, E. (1978). A partial ethogram of the killer whale (Orcinus orca L.). Carnivore, 1(3), 13–27.
[3] Killer whales of Prince William Sound and Southeast Alaska A Catalogue of Individuals Photoidentified, 1976-1986. Edited By Graeme Ellis. West Coast Whale Research Foundation. 1040 West Georgia Street, Room 2020. Vancouver, British Columbia.
[4] Killer whales of Southeast Alaska A Catalogue of Photoidentified individuals (1997) Dahlheim, M, Ellifrit D. and Swenson J. Eds. Marine Mammal Laboratory, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service NOAA. Day Moon Press, Washington, 90 pp.
[5] Marley, S. A., Cheney, B., & Thompson, P. M. (2013). Using tooth rakes to monitor population and sex differences in aggressive behaviour in bottlenose dolphins (tursiops truncatus). Aquatic Mammals, 39(2), 107–115.
[6] Scott, E. M., Mann, J., Watson-Capps, J. J., Sargeant, B. L., & Connor, R. C. (2005). Aggression in bottlenose dolphins: evidence for sexual coercion, male-male competition, and female tolerance through analysis of tooth-rake marks and behaviour. Behaviour142(1), 21-44.
[7] Rowe, L. E., & Dawson, S. M. (2009). Determining the sex of bottlenose dolphins from Doubtful Sound using dorsal fin photographs. Marine Mammal Science, 25(1), 19-34.
[8] Kügler, A., & Orbach, D. N. (2014). Sources of Notch and Scar Patterns on the Dorsal Fins of Dusky Dolphins (Lagenorhynchus obscurus). Aquatic Mammals, 40(3).
[9] Dudzinski, K. M., Gregg, J., Melillo-Sweeting, K., Seay, B., Levengood, A., & Kuczaj II, S. (2012). Tactile contact exchanges between dolphins : self-rubbing versus inter-individual contact in three species from three geographies. International Journal of Comparative Psychology, 25, 21–43.
[10] Robinson, K. P. (2014). Agonistic intraspecific behavior in free-ranging bottlenose dolphins: Calf-directed aggression and infanticidal tendencies by adult males. Marine Mammal Science, 30(1), 381–388.
[11] Parsons, K. M., Durban, J. W., & Claridge, D. E. (2003). Male-male aggression renders bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) unconscious. Aquatic Mammals, 29(3), 360–362.
[12] Auger‐Méthé, M., & Whitehead, H. (2007). The use of natural markings in studies of long‐finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas). Marine Mammal Science, 23(1), 77-93.
[13] Visser, I. N. (1998). Prolific body scars and collapsing dorsal fins on killer whats (Orcinus orca) in New Zealand waters. Aquatic Mammals, 24, 71-82
[14] Robeck, T. R., St. Leger, J. A., Robeck, H. E., Nilson, E., & Dold, C. (2019). Evidence of Variable Agonistic Behavior in Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) Based on Age, Sex, and Ecotype. Aquatic Mammals, 45(4), 430–446.

The Loro Parque Company presents the recognition of Siam Park as the best water park in the world for the sixth consecutive time

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Loro Parque has, this Friday, August 2, presented the results of the Travellers’ Choice TripAdvisor award, where Siam Park was chosen as the best water park in the world for the sixth consecutive year.  At the same time, the progress of The Loro Parque Foundation projects and the strategies for the elimination of single-use plastic in all the Company’s facilities have been disclosed.

The event, held at the Real Casino de Tenerife, was attended by the President of the Loro Parque Company Wolfgang Kiessling, the Vice-President of the Company, President of Siam Park and the Loro Parque Foundation Christoph Kiessling, the Director of the Loro Parque Foundation Dr. Javier Almunia and the Scientific Director of the Foundation Rafael Zamora.

On the recognition of Siam Park, President Christoph Kiessling revealed that “the keys to success” are “apart from transmitting the philosophy of Loro Parque, in terms of the service, friendliness, smiles and professionalism of the team, are being good value for money and using renewable energy properly”.

As far as environmental conservation projects are concerned, the President of Loro Parque stressed that “a commitment has been made to the Canary Islands”.  Therefore, one million euros has been given to the CanBio project, in collaboration with the Canary Islands Government which has contributed another million, for research into climate change in the sea and ocean acidification and its effects on marine biodiversity in the Canary Islands and Macaronesia, especially on cetaceans, turtles, sharks and rays.

Through this project, which is scheduled to be carried out over four years, they aim to help protect the animals that live in this space and be an example for other regions, explained the Director of The Loro Parque Foundation Javier Almunia.

The occasion also served to announce that the company has eliminated the use of more than 30 tons of single-use plastic and has declared that they aspire to continue promoting the search for solutions to keep the oceans cleaner.

“We must not forget that we can’t live without plastic” so “we can only reduce its use where we have the capacity to act” emphasised the Company President Wolfgang Kiessling.

The representatives of Loro Parque, recognised as the best zoo in the world, have thus outlined their objective of making citizens aware of the environmental problems faced by the oceans and the different species that inhabit them.

The Loro Parque Foundation saves nine species that were in danger of extinction

The Scientific Director of The Loro Parque Foundation, Rafael Zamora, stressed that 100 per cent of the income received by the Foundation is earmarked for nature conservation programs.  Thus, through its more than 180 projects and US$19.7 million invested, nine species have been saved from imminent extinction in different parts of the world.

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:

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

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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


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.


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.

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Loro Parque contributes to the description, for the first time, of the process of orca reconciliation

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A study conducted with the orcas of Loro Parque and published in the journal Zoo Biology has managed to explain the process of reconciliation after a social conflict of this species.  This is the first time that this behaviour has been described for science.

In order to achieve this, the researchers have carried out a detailed analysis of the social relations shown by the orcas and their tendency to reconciliation after their rare episodes of conflict, which represent less than one per cent of all the behaviour patterns displayed by these animals.

Among the documented behaviours, the curious bonding pattern described as the “soft tongue bite” stands out, whereby the tip of the tongue is delicately pinched using the teeth, but without biting.  Affiliation interactions between a specific pair of orcas occurred with a significantly higher frequency than expected by chance, indicating a particular affinity between some individuals.

Research on the social behaviour of these cetaceans helps to improve the understanding of interactions in animals living under human care and favours better management of the groups.

Thus, Loro Parque consolidates itself as a study platform to promote the knowledge and improvement of the lives of animals and this work is just one more example of its participation in the advancement of science for the conservation of the marine environment.

Loro Parque and the Tenerife Cabildo remind people of the importance of the geographer Alexander von Humboldt

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Loro Parque and the Tenerife Cabildo carried out yesterday afternoon, Thursday June 13, a series of conferences on the occasion of the 250th anniversary of the birth of Alexander von Humboldt.  The conferences, held at the world’s best zoo, extolled the figure of this scientist who is considered to be the Father of modern universal geography.

The acting Cabildo Councillor for External Action Delia Herrera, thanked the Humboldt Cultural Association and Loro Parque for their collaboration in organising the events and explained that, in order to raise awareness of the scientist, various events have been prepared, as well as other activities with schoolchildren, in which the Island’s Department of Museums has also collaborated.

During the day, the first to take the floor was the Emeritus Professor of the University of Navarra Luis Herrera, with the lecture Alexander von Humboldt: from Tenerife to the New World, The Humboldt penguin and other eponyms.  Following this, Fátima Hernández, PhD in Biology from the University of La Laguna, gave her talk entitled Alexander von Humboldt and artists’ convergent visions of nature.

Subsequently, Isidoro Sánchez, President of the Humboldt Cultural Association in the Canary Islands, spoke about the visit of this scientist to the island.  Finally, the day closed with the presentation of a work by the artist Alejandro Tosco, created especially for the occasion.

The programme of events continues today, Friday June 14, at the facilities of the Museum of Nature and Archaeology (MUNA) with a workshop aimed at children on the recognition of marine silhouettes, an activity that will include the species baptised as the Humboldt penguin.  It’s also planned that these activities held on the Island will be joined by other actions next September in Ecuador.  Specifically, a talk and the painting exhibition De Sur a Sur (From South to South) has been programmed in the city of Quito, organised in collaboration with the Humboldt Association based in this country.


In addition to the 250th anniversary of Humboldt’s birth in 2019, 160 years have already passed since his death in Berlin (6 May 1859) and 220 years since his visit to the Canary Islands (June 1799), which is why an extensive programme of activities has been organised in Ecuador, Germany and Tenerife around his person.

This programme of cultural events aims not only to reinforce the vision of the Island as an intercontinental platform, but also to raise awareness of environmental sustainable development objectives (SDS) through art.