New defeat for Free Morgan Foundation in the European Parliament

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Recently, the Committee on Petitions of the European Parliament closed, definitively, the petition initiated by Mathew Spiegel and Ingrid Visser (Free Morgan Foundation), with which they tried to prove that the CITES permit of the orca Morgan was being used incorrectly.

In 2015, the Free Morgan Foundation (FMF) began an action by sending letters to different CITES authorities accusing Loro Parque and its experts of ignoring the law or breaking it voluntarily.  According to the FMF, Morgan’s CITES permit had been issued for scientific use and that prevented any other use of Morgan – educational, reproductive, etc.  When the Free Morgan Foundation began to receive letters from the various CITES authorities saying that they were wrong and that Loro Parque was correctly interpreting the CITES permit, instead of acknowledging its error, it chose to hide those responses and continue its reckless campaign.  The response from the Spanish CITES authority was very clear and surely that is why they kept it hidden “There is no limitation on breeding for Morgan”.

In the Netherlands, the FMF were insistent with the Dutch CITES authorities after they rejected its interpretation on two occasions.  So in 2017, it decided to initiate an administrative dispute against the Dutch government.  Last year, the Dutch judiciary told the FMF again that it was wrong and, instead of admitting that they were wrong, they appealed the ruling, so there will be an appeal hearing at the end of May this year.

But the Free Morgan Foundation’s obsession went further, and in 2018 they petitioned the European Parliament to change the CITES forms used throughout the European Union, arguing that Morgan’s case proved that they did not conform to the rules.  As early as June last year, the European Commission replied that this request was unfounded and that there were no reasons to change the form, as it complied with CITES regulations.  However, unfortunately, a lack of quorum in the Commission meant that the petition remained open and more information was requested from both CITES Spain and the European Commission.

The reply sent by the Spanish CITES authority to the Committee on Petitions was overwhelming: in relation to Morgan’s legal situation “No incorrectness has been detected either in the content of the certificate or in the application of Regulation (EC) 338/97”.  And further, “Loro Parque meets the requirements of both adequate facilities for the maintenance of the specimen and the conditions indicated in the certificate of community use”.  As for the European Commission’s reply, it was equally forceful “The petitioners say that Morgan’s case is only an example to illustrate more general problems with the certificate … but they have not provided evidence of any other case”.  They conclude “The petitioners have not provided any evidence of significant structural problems in the application of the rules in force”.

Yet another shameless accusation by a radical activist group that questions the welfare of the animals in Loro Parque…

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It is with utmost surprise and bewilderment that we discover yet another smear campaign move, this time on the part of the animal rights activist group, Anima, aiming to damage the worldwide known reputation of Loro Parque with their allegations about the level of welfare of the animals under our care, something that they by no means and in no measure are qualified to evaluate in the first place.

We would like to remind these self-proclaimed activists that Loro Parque has been acknowledged as the best zoo in the world twice in a row by TripAdvisor. No other zoo in the World has ever achieved this. On the other hand, Loro Parque complies with all the Spanish and European regulations for zoos; we are members of all the relevant zoological associations (World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, European Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Iberian Association of Zoos and Aquariums, European Association for Aquatic Mammals and Alliance for Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums). We have been also audited by American Humane and have been certified with the Humane Conservation Standard, which is internationally acknowledged as an independent Animal Welfare Standard. Loro Parque is also certified with ISO14000, ISO9000, EMAS and Biosphere Parks Animal Embassy.

During the 47-year trajectory of Loro Parque, we have been visited by over 49 000 000 guests, many of whom have repeated their experience and have left their testimonials in our Guest Books which are available to all visitors and which can be seen in our regular social media posts. These are the truly independent opinions of the people who have visited us and could verify for themselves the level of care and affection that we give to all animals every day. Here are some of them:

Despite that, we are continuously targeted by the anti-zoo groups with smear campaigns, but they have never succeed in proving any of their accusations. Thus, for example, the last animal mistreatment accusation made by PETA against Loro Parque was declared unfounded by the Spanish Environmental Police after a detailed analysis of all our facilities and procedures.

We will be more than happy to confront any legitimate subject matter expert to prove the high level of welfare of all our animals, included the orcas.

About Morgan, here is the link to the chronology of her rescue, rehabilitation and integration where anyone can get familiar with her extraordinary story She was rescued when she was found almost dead in the Wadden Sea, and if Loro Parque hadn’t had the willingness to offer her a home, she would have been euthanized.

With regard to her young calf, Ula, we have been totally transparent about the separation from Morgan, explaining to the interested public that she did not have enough milk to feed her. The veterinary team decided to temporarily separate Ula from Morgan in order to feed the calf, otherwise the young animal would already be dead, like it happens in many occasions in the wild, when the orcas are unable to provide enough food for their offspring. Thanks to the enormous effort of the veterinarians and caretakers, Ula is alive and doing very well, she has been reunited with her mother, nevertheless we are still bottle-feeding Ula as she still a calf.

As a proof of our total transparency with Ula you can find all the information in our blog:

Furthermore, all the interested public can follow our regular publications about the progress of Ula and her mother Morgan on our social media.

Going back to Anima’s ridiculous accusations, one must underline that the video used to advertise this petition was recorded 11 years ago during a veterinarian procedure (gastroscopy) that had to be performed in one of our orcas. At that time, this animal was not trained to perform this veterinarian procedure voluntarily, so that it had to be restrained to allow the veterinarians to diagnose the orca. This kind of restraining was only performed for veterinary reasons and this is why it is so important to train the animals in order to reduce the need to manipulate them. Nowadays this is not necessary as the animals have been trained to participate voluntarily in gastroscopic examinations.

Accusations like this one will not change our determination to continue working for the welfare of every single animal in this world, and for the conservation of the biodiversity in a planet threatened by the sixth extinction as has been scientifically proven. Already now with 700 million visitors in zoos worldwide it is clear that a zoo visit is a highly demanded activity which in light of the destruction of our nature and environment will become an absolute “must” in the future.

UICN Letter to Barcelona City Council

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Download letter in pdf format

Loro Parque presents its novelties at the ITB

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Loro Parque, Siam Park, Poema del Mar, Loro Parque Foundation, Hotel Botánico & The Oriental Spa Garden and Brunelli’s Steakhouse are present for yet another year at the prestigious ITB Fair, which is held in Berlin, in order to publicise the latest developments in their leisure parks, amongst other firsts. The Loro Parque space can be visited at stand 206 in hall 2.1, from March 6 to 10, and there’s all kind of information available, as well as news and photographs.

Also, in this edition of the ITB, Loro Parque has organised a press conference ‘The importance of the Modern Zoo’, presented by the specialist in wildlife conservation, Wolfgang Rades. The event had as guests the Vice-President of Loro Parque and President of the Loro Parque Foundation Christoph Kiessling; the President of the Federal Association of the Tourism Sector (BTW) Michael Frenzel; the GEOMAR Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel Doctor Boris Culik; and the Director of Karlsruhe Zoo Doctor Matthias Reinschmidt. The presentation took place on March 6 from 2:30 to 4:30pm, at M2, level 3, City Cube Berlin.

With this event, Loro Parque seeks to demonstrate the growing importance of modern zoological gardens for animal conservation and welfare, scientific research and education, and the tourism industry. Thus, the presentations give answers to questions related to its work as an animal embassy: how does a zoo contribute to the conservation of nature, why is its existence so important and why are cetaceans under human care perfect ambassadors of their fellows in nature?

Loro Parque, the best zoo in the world for the second consecutive year

Recognised as the best zoo in the world for the second consecutive year, Loro Parque is an impressive animal embassy that offers the unique experience of getting to know wildlife as never before, with species and ecosystems from the five continents, from the lush Amazon jungle to the cold landscapes of Antarctica. Thus, visitors are able to discover the wonders and splendid beauty of the natural world without having to travel to all these corners of the planet.

Among its main attractions are the impressive and educational presentations of Orcas and Dolphins, as well as the legendary Parrot Show, in addition to the shy Red Pandas, the majestic Lions of Angola, or the largest and most diverse Parrot Reserve in the world. New arrivals this year are the Pygmy Hippos, whose innovative home adapts perfectly to the needs of their species and the charismatic Ring-Tailed Lemurs, so beloved for their cinematographic trajectory. Another novelty is the Zen Garden exhibition, a space inspired by Japanese gardens and the majestic mountain ranges of Asia that can be seen in the AquaViva exhibition, home of the most spectacular jellyfish.

Thus, it’s not surprising that Loro Parque has a large number of worldwide recognitions, which reward its commitment to excellence and its absolute concern for animal welfare. In its more than 46 years of history and after having received almost 50 million visitors in its facilities, the Parque has been awarded the Plaque and Gold Medal for Tourist Merit awarded by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism of Spain, the Gold Medals of the Government of the Canary Islands, the city of Puerto de La Cruz and the Island Council of Tenerife, among other awards. Loro Parque is also the only company in the Canary Islands that has won the Prince Felipe Award for Business Excellence, as well as the only zoo in Europe that has the ‘American Certified’ Animal Welfare Certification from the respected American Humane organisation (USA).

For Loro Parque, these recognitions imply a responsibility and it therefore has a clear mission for the protection of the environment. As a wildlife conservation centre, and through the Loro Parque Foundation, it has managed to save nine species from imminent extinction. Also, as part of this commitment, the Park has implemented in 2018 a strategy of elimination of single-use plastic, becoming one of the first zoos in Europe to replace plastic water bottles with others that are biodegradable and can be turned into compost, thus ceasing to generate single-use bottles as waste products.

Siam Park, the best water park in the world for the fifth year running

There is no doubt: Siam Park is the best water park that exists on the face of the earth, and it’s in Spain. This has been confirmed by the Travellers’ Choice Award, which Siam Park has received for five consecutive years thanks to the positive ratings of its visitors on the prestigious travel portal TripAdvisor. Siam Park is the only park that has achieved this distinction so many times in a row, and in fact the only one that has received this award since TripAdvisor inaugurated the Water Parks category five years ago.

This repeated recognition is undoubtedly the result of constant innovation and reinvestment of the Loro Parque Company in all its projects, with which it always pursues excellence. In addition to being a benchmark in the TripAdvisor awards, it also has international recognition from organisations such as the leading publication and a reference point for the assessment of theme parks Kirmes & Park Revue, which has honoured Siam Park with the European Star Award for the Best Water Park in Europe for the sixth consecutive year, among many other awards.

Siam Park celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2018 and has done so in a big way with the inauguration of two new and spectacular attractions. The first, Patong Rapids, is a new initiative by Siam Park that breaks all the moulds, surpassing the already incredible Mekong Rapids. The new ride is 235 metres long, including an area of complete darkness. With a capacity of 1,200 people per hour, it reduces to a minimum the waiting time to be able to enjoy to the maximum its incredible switchback curves, and includes impressive disc-floats that allow you to experience a unique sensation of speed and adrenaline.

The second, Coco Beach is a new children’s area that allows the little ones to have great adventures in the company of their families. They will be able to enjoy new and incredible sensations in the latest swimming and wave-pool of over 1,000 m2, suitable for the little ones of the house and simulating the famous ruins of AngkorWat.

The beauty of this park is, in itself, an incomparable attraction, and nothing is equivalent to being able to enjoy attractions unique in the world, in an unprecedented venture in an environment of lush vegetation and Thai design and decoration. Visitors will be able to experience first hand the sensations produced by the Tower of Power and its 28 metre high toboggan; Singha, and many other impressive state-of-the-art attractions without which a holiday in Tenerife would not be complete.

And for those seeking relaxation in an exclusive environment, Siam Park offers Siam Beach, the most paradisiacal artificial wave beach in the Canary Islands, where the incredible waves of The Wave Palace break. Siam Park, located in Adeje, Tenerife, is a place where good weather and fun are guaranteed all year round and is therefore another must-see if you travel to the Canary Islands.

Poema del Mar, the spectacular aquarium in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Poema del Mar, one of the most spectacular aquariums in the world, inaugurated in 2017, has turned the city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria into a strategic location for tourism.

Thus, just a year after its opening, this large aquarium offers its visitors a unique opportunity: to make a trip to the deepest ocean with its Deep Sea exhibition, which features the world’s largest curved window, 36 metres wide and 7.35 metres high, as well as 39 centimetres thick. With a total tank depth of 8.5 metres and 5.5 million litres of water, Deep Sea allows you to observe, in a unique environment, the wonders of the depths of the oceans, and the around 3,000 specimens of up to 40 different species that swim in its dark waters.

In addition, once inside the Aquarium, the visitor will begin the tour by immersing himself in the first of the areas, La Jungla, which reproduces landscapes from all over the planet in a tribute to the five continents. Arrecife will then invite you for a walk around a huge 400,000 litre water cylinder displaying a wide variety of coral and fish, and finally the aforementioned Deep Sea.

Poema del Mar has a firm commitment to innovation, biodiversity conservation and excellence in sustainable tourism. It’s no coincidence that the authorities of the Canary Islands consider it an attraction “of strategic interest for the region” that reinforces the promotion of Gran Canaria, and the entire archipelago, as one of the best tourist destinations on an international scale.

The Loro Parque Foundation: 100% for nature

In 1994, Loro Parque consolidated its firm commitment to environmental work through the creation of the Loro Parque Foundation, an international non-profit organisation specialising in the conservation and protection of species of parrots and marine mammals, amongst other animals, which are in danger of extinction.

Each year, thanks to Loro Parque’s funding of the Foundation’s operational costs, 100% of the donations received go directly to in situ and ex situ conservation and/or education projects. Thus, ‘100% for nature’ is not just a slogan, but goes much further: it’s a reality.

Its numbers and results speak for themselves: more than US$19,600,000 invested in over 160 projects on five continents, and nine species of parrots saved directly from imminent extinction.

In addition, the Loro Parque Foundation maintains a firm commitment to the marine biodiversity of the Canary Islands and dedicates a significant part of its resources to its protection through projects with the Loro Parque Foundation and the Poema del Mar aquarium, which in 2017 began its successful enterprise in the city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

A clear example of the Foundation’s work is the release of the six specimens of the Lear’s Macaw (Anodorhynchus leari) born in the facilities of the Loro Parque Foundation and moved last August to Brazil, for their reinsertion into their natural environment. They have managed to adapt to the harsh conditions of their habitat in the Caatinga and already fly in the wild. This parrot is one of the most important projects of the Foundation, which has managed to move its category on the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) from ‘critically endangered’ to ‘endangered’.

Brunelli’s, three years offering the best meat this side of the Atlantic

Brunelli’s restaurant, located in front of Loro Parque, is to be congratulated because it has been named the “benchmark of great meats in the Canary Islands” by important gastronomic supplements such as Metropolis from El Mundo and as “the best meat restaurant in Tenerife” by TripAdvisor in 2018.

Thus, since its opening three years ago, this establishment, styled after typical American steakhouses, has revolutionised the gastronomic offer of Puerto de La Cruz, in the north of Tenerife, with its impressive range of meats: Ávila steak, Black Angus ox entrecote, etc. -the best cuts cooked in a very special way. All this, thanks to the fact that Brunelli’s has an oven, unique in the Canary Islands, capable of cooking meat at 800º, and thus maintaining all the flavour and imbuing it with the juiciest of textures.

Its offer is completed with an excellent wine list, varied desserts, a meticulous service, and the possibility of contemplating the best sunsets on the island from its large terrace which is open to the sea. That’s why Brunelli’s is known for having the best meat on this side of the Atlantic: in Puerto de La Cruz, in the north of Tenerife.

Hotel Botánico & The Oriental Spa Garden, elegance and comfort

The 5***** Grand Luxury Hotel Botánico ensures the highest quality by its inclusion in The Leading Hotels of the World group. Located in Puerto de La Cruz, in the north of the island of Tenerife, it offers incomparable views of Teide and the Atlantic Ocean. It also has an extensive collection of paintings by various Canarian artists that makes its customers feel that they are in a unique place.

The Hotel has a wide gastronomic offer led by El Oriental, recognised as the best Thai restaurant in the Canary Islands, and Il Pappagallo, with its cosy terrace that offers live music every day.

It recently received the TUI Holly 2019, Condé Nast Johansens 2019 award for the best hotel with a Spa in Europe and the Mediterranean, and HolidayCheck 2019, prizes which have arrived to add to an already extensive and impressive list of recognitions. Thus, the Hotel Botánico has seen its position strengthened once again, as a safe and quality choice when spending a holiday in Tenerife.

Its offer of relaxation and beauty is revived in their exclusive Oriental Spa Garden, with new anti-stress and detox treatments, carried out with aloe vera and ayurveda. It also offers beauty treatments with the prestigious Dr. Krulig. An extraordinary holiday in one of the most beautiful environments in the north of Tenerife would undoubtedly be a real gift.

Loro Parque celebrates World Wildlife Day with an entire week of activities

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Loro Parque has devoted special attention to World Wildlife Day, which this year focused on the incalculable value of marine life.  To this end, activities were carried out throughout the week with the aim of promoting awareness and education about the immense diversity of species that inhabit the marine world and their importance to the ecosystem as a whole.

To this end, the Education Department of the Loro Parque Foundation has carried out different activities throughout the week, among which was a students’ guided visit to the Loro Parque Aquarium, where they discovered that the oceans hide an enormously rich biodiversity.  Thus, the students have learned about the immense variety of species that inhabit the sea and the various threats they face, such as over-exploitation, pollution, loss of coastal habitats or climate change.

Within the actions of the Wildlife Week, the Education team has also made further visits to the coasts of the Canary Islands, continuing with the project ‘The Sand on Our Beaches.  On this occasion, the Department of Education has travelled to three different Tinerfeñan beaches. There, 94 students of the Colegio Alemán and 25 from the IES Manuel Martín González have investigated the abundance of plastic and the factors that can influence its accumulation.

On the other hand, an education campaign on marine life has been carried out in the Parque’s social networks.  In this, curiosities are explained such as turtles’ markings or the importance of mangroves which act as natural filters, amongst other functions, preventing a large amount of organic matter from reaching the coral reefs.

With these ongoing activities, Loro Parque reinforces its commitment to the protection and conservation not only of marine species but of all wild animals, which act in the Parque as true Ambassadors of their fellow creatures in the wild, helping to make visitors aware of the dangers they face.

Loro Parque receives the Tenerife Ejectutivos’ Award for its ‘Tourism Excellence’

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Loro Parque has received this Tuesday, February 26, the Tenerife Ejecutivos’ Award for Tourism Excellence, bestowed by the magazine Ejecutivos, in an event held in La Laguna Gran Hotel.

 This first edition of the awards was presided over by the President of the Tenerife Cabildo Carlos Alonso.  During the ceremony, different companies were recognised for their trajectory, quality, external projects, technological development and customer service, amongst other categories.

Thus, once again, the work of Loro Parque has been differentiated by its excellence in tourism, because, according to the portal of the Ejecutivos Magazine “Loro Parque is one of the most beautiful zoos in the world” which “is located on the slopes of the volcano Teide World Heritage Site, and in its 45 years of existence continues to surprise its visitors by its constant work of innovation and research”.

This award acknowledges many years of hard work and continuous growth.  It comes in addition to the Parque’s recognition for the second consecutive year, as the best zoo in the world, through the award Travellers’ Choice, given thanks to the independent assessments of users of the TripAdvisor travel portal.

Thus, Loro Parque is recognised for a trajectory that has made it one of the most respected zoological institutions in the world, for its exceptional beauty, the excellence of its facilities and its respect for nature.  This is due to the fact that, with the almost 50 million visitors who have visited its facilities since it opened in 1972, the Parque continues in its firm commitment to the protection of different species, through a wide variety of projects in which the Loro Parque Foundation also participates.

The Loro Parque Foundation has achieved the reintroduction into the wild in Brazil of six Tenerife-born examples of a parrot that is in danger of extinction

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Photo: Joao Marcos Rosa

The six specimens of Lear’s Macaw (Anodorhynchus leari) born in the Loro Parque Foundation’s facilities and moved last August to Brazil for their reinsertion in nature have already managed to adapt to the harsh conditions of their habitat in the Caatinga and are now flying free in the wild.  The parrot is one of the most important projects of the Foundation, which has managed to move its category on the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) from ‘critically endangered’ to ‘endangered’.

The protection and progressive recovery of this species has been a long road and a lot of work, in which is highlighted the work performed ex-situ by the Loro Parque Foundation, to whom the Government of Brazil transferred two pairs 13 years ago, in 2006, with the aspiration that they could raise and save a species that was in a situation similar to that of the Spix’s Macaw, now extinct in nature.

In a matter of six months, they managed to help the birds start reproducing and, since then, more than 30 specimens have been bred in Tenerife.  However, the Foundation’s objective has always been to enable them to return to their natural environment and, once there, to ensure their sustainability.  During this time, a total of 15 specimens have been sent, nine of them to participate in the National Action Plan for the conservation of the species, achieving a notable increase in the population.

Photo: Joao Marcos Rosa

The last six individuals to arrive in Brazil have spent a period of adaptation in a large aviary based in a natural environment, with plants typical of the ecology of the species and where they have become familiar with the sounds of nature and with the conditions of the area where the Lear’s Macaw was previously found.

During this process, the project team had to face several challenges: that the birds could adapt to eating the fruit of the licuri palm – which the species feeds on – at the same speed as other wild birds, given that they were accustomed to a softer meal, or that they stopped drinking water directly from a drinking trough and began to consume that which they obtained from the fruit of the palm trees are just two of them.  However, all were gradually overcome and successfully, whilst they were also trained to increase their cardio-respiratory capacity and to react to sounds of possible predators.

It was the most determined specimen, the most curious of the six that was the first to leave the soft release aviary to inspect the area and serve as an advance guard for the rest of the group. In this situation, and for safety reasons, he made the first flights equipped with a locator to record his movements.  Once he established the distances and returned safely to the precinct, the gate was opened for the others.

Photo: Joao Marcos Rosa

The nearby palms were provided with large bunches of licuri fruits to avoid them having to make great efforts in the search for food during their first experiences in their natural habitat. Thus, they gradually left the enclosure and found very similar conditions without having to make long journeys.

With this huge breakthrough, the Lear’s Macaw has reached one of the most important phases in its recovery, and its integration into the natural environment will continue to be monitored by Brazilian scientists – led by biologist Erica Pacifico, General Coordinator of the release project – who, in direct connection with experts from the Loro Parque Foundation, will continue to monitor the evolution of the process.

Photo: Loro Parque Fundación


This project has been possible thanks to the important support and collaboration of Brazilian and international institutions that were fundamental in different phases of the release project: expert researchers of the Research and Conservation Group of the Arara-Azul de Lear, through Qualis Consultoria Ambiental; actions executed within the National Action Plan for the Conservation of the Species; Enel Green Power Brazil, in charge of the integral financing of the project and the Community of Cercadinho, Campo Formoso / Bahia.

Also relevant for their support have been the Architecture Association of Cristina Dénes, for the creation of the project of construction of the nursery of adaptation of the araras in the Area of Freedom of Wild Animals, and the collaboration of Antonio Carlos Canto Porto Filho and Francisco Antonio de Oliveira, for the donation of materials.  Also: the National Centre for Research and Conservation of Wild Birds; the Fazenda Cachoeira Scientific Hatchery for conservation purposes; the Centre for Conservation and Management of Caatinga Fauna (CEMAFAUNA); the National Cente for Research and Conservation of Wild Birds (CEMAVE); the Scientific Hatchery for conservation purposes; the Bahia Institute of Environment and Water Resources (INEMA); the Max Planck Institute of Environment and Water Resources of Bahia (INEMA); the Institute of Biodiversity Development (ICMBio); the Institute of Wild Spaces (IES); the Institute of Ornithology (MPIO); the Zoology Museum of the University of São Paulo (MZUSP) and Nitro Imágenes, a multidisciplinary team that has made it possible for Tenerife macaws to fly in Brazil.

Loro Parque exhibits, for the first time in Spain, a pair of Bowmouth guitarfish (Rhina ancylostoma)

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After Loro Parque became a pioneer in being the first aquarium in Spain to receive a pair of Bowmouth guitarfish (Rhina ancylostoma), the species will be available to be viewed at its exhibition in the coming days that all visitors can get to know and learn them. With their incorporation, this zoological garden already recognised as the best in the world according to TripAdvisor, reinforces its commitment to conservation, as this species is catalogued as vulnerable according to the Red List of Threatened Species of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The shark, also known as the Shark Ray, faces a variety of threats in the wild, including habitat degradation (particularly in South and Southeast Asia), pollution and fishing, as its meat is traded for human consumption on the Asian continent. Similarly, in northern Australia, for example, bycatch is also a threat to this species, although, fortunately, the introduction of turtle-excluder devices in shrimp trawlers has considerably reduced their mortality. These two specimens, which have been in quarantine for some time before being transferred to the aquarium exhibition, will act in Loro Parque as representatives of their peers in the wild.

This species lives near the coast and around coral reefs, at a maximum depth of 90 metres. It is mainly found on sandy or muddy bottoms, and is a large species that can grow up to 270 cm in total length. In general, very little is known about its characteristics and history, so more research is needed to provide data on its biology, origin and levels of exploitation.

An estimated 100 million sharks die each year as a result of fishing, and a quarter of the cartilaginous fish species – sharks, rays and chimaeras – that exist are threatened with extinction due to often harmful human actions. That is why Loro Parque acts as a real embassy for wild animals, helping to ensure, with its work, the continuity and protection of different species.

The work to be carried out on the Rhina ancylostoma sharks will be essential to provide more information to help conserve and ensure the well-being of other endangered species, such as the angel shark (Squatina squatina) – the most endangered shark in the world – and the hammerhead shark (Sphyrna sp.), both of which Loro Parque Foundation helps through projects for their protection and conservation.

Loro Parque Fundación and the Canarian universities kick-off the CanBio project

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This week, Loro Parque Fundación has signed several collaboration agreements and contracts with research teams from the two Canarian universities and the NGOs Elasmocan and AVANFUER, to start the CanBio project, a research programme financed jointly by Loro Parque and the Canary Islands Government.

Through this project, different research groups from the University of La Laguna (ULL) and the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC) will study climate change in the sea and ocean acidification, as well as its effects on marine biodiversity in the Canary Islands and Macaronesia, especially on cetaceans, sea turtles, sharks and rays.

The project, which was presented last November and foresees an investment of two million euros over four years, has started this January with the placement of a measuring station in the Benchijigua Express ferry (of the Fred Olsen shipping company), which has already begun to collect data on coastal acidification in the region.  This data will be supplemented with another measuring station on the ship Renate P (of the shipping company NISA Maritima) which makes trips between Tenerife, Las Palmas, Lanzarote and Barcelona, and will provide information on the Macaronesia region.

These opportunistic platforms will be joined throughout 2019 by a coastal network for monitoring marine environmental parameters linked to climate change, ocean acidification and underwater noise pollution, as well as their effects on the marine biodiversity of the Canary Islands.  This network will initially consist of two buoys equipped with scientific instruments, one in Gran Canaria and the other in Tenerife.  In subsequent years, several scientific operations will be carried out with autonomous vehicles, which will travel around the archipelago and the Macaronesia obtaining information on the effects of climate change on the ocean and on the distribution of species such as cetaceans.

All these actions are linked to the previous activity of Loro Parque Fundación in the archipelago and will allow us to obtain essential information with which to interpret the effects that global change will produce in the marine organisms of the Canary Islands and Macaronesia.  In this way, the region will become a world reference, providing relevant data on climate change for the international community, whilst helping to diagnose the effects of global change in the area.

Certain anti-zoo activists speculate about Ula’s health

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Once again, the anti-zoo activists apply one of their established schemes in order to gain popularity, media attention and, ultimately, donations. This time, as always without any justification whatsoever, they have decided to speculate about Ula’s health by using some photos, without any type of medical diagnostic data. On top of that, none of these self-proclaimed experts has even a minimal knowledge of veterinary medicine. Suffice to say, it would be disturbing enough if veterinarians issued their diagnoses based solely on photographs, but that persons without anyveterinarian knowledge nor experience presume to do so, that is outright ridiculous.

The accusations of these individuals, whose sole interest it is to get hold of all orcas and have them under their own control in an alleged “sanctuary”, are absolutely absurd and do not have any grounds at all. Ula is in perfect medical conditions as confirmed by theteam of veterinarianexperts at Loro Parque that make their conclusion based on medical diagnostic information. The same conclusion is reached by the several independent, highly experienced veterinarians who have years of experience in orcas and dolphins care.

It is simply paradoxical that those alleged animal lovers, who continuously proclaim that orcas should be moved to a sanctuary, in four years have been unable (and after spending almost one million dollars) to even find a place for this this hypothetic sanctuary. This shows very clearly that an orca sanctuary is merely an illusion, since the localisation would be a first step only – and surely it would be the easiest one. Anyone can imagine what would happen in the moment in which they have to face the enormous investments, engineering problems, logistics and animal wellbeing associated with closing a bay of the sea. Meanwhile, there remains no doubt that criticising zoos without proof and speculating about the health of our animals is still a very good business that helps them to gain donations.

The only certainty so far in this absurd story is that the alleged orca lovers, who seem so preoccupied for Ula’s health, at no time approached Loro Parque to simply ask about her condition.