2017: a successful year for Loro Parque

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December is the month to close the annual balance, and Loro Parque closes 2017 with a very positive one: the TripAdvisor award for the best zoo in the world, the luxury inauguration of a new exhibit with the arrival of three Angola Lions and the opening of the aquarium Poema del Mar this past Sunday the 17th, the date of its 45th anniversary.  An overview of this year’s calendar shows that its work and daily efforts for the conservation of nature have paid off.

An important factor in this matter is the number of distinctions and awards the Park has received throughout 2017. In addition to having been named the best zoo on the planet, it has obtained the animal welfare certification for all its animals granted by the prestigious American Humane Association – being the first zoo in Europe to acquire it – as well as the certificate of the independent auditor Global Spirit, which recognizes 100% compliance with the requirements established by the animal welfare standards set by the British Association of Tour Operators and Travel Agents (ABTA), which counts with the participation of world leaders such as Thomas Cook or TUI UK.

Another indicator, reason for continuous joys for the family of Loro Parque, has been the ‘baby-boom’ that has taken place in the last twelve months: chimpanzees, capybaras, otters, sea lions, sharks, parrots or penguins are some of the species that have been raised in the Park. Especially curious was the case of the great-grandson of Geisha, the most famous female king penguin of Planet Penguin, and also very endearing was the arrival of the chimp baby Happy, which filled the entire family with joy on the Happiness Day. The arrival of the Tasmanian yellow-tailed black-cockatoo chicks was quite a milestone, as it was the first time that they were reproduced in Europe.

This explosion of births confirms the state of well-being in which animals are found in their facilities, and strengthens the commitment to their protection and conservation, thus demonstrating the success of their breeding system, framed in a philosophy that has turned Loro Parque into a true embassy for wild animals.

And also in the field of new additions, a highlight was the arrival of three African lions of the subspecies “lion of Angola”, from zoos of France and Lisbon. Its exhibition in Loro Parque, named Lion’s Kingdom, is a unique space that perfectly recreates its natural habitat, with a lake so they can cool off, a rock promontory where to rest in the sun and even several dragon trees, an emblematic tree of the Canary Islands.

To finish off the year, on December 17th, Loro Parque celebrated the opening ceremony of the aquarium Poema del Mar, which reinforces its commitment to the conservation of nature as a continuum without borders. This project appears as a new chance to develop an important environmental labour, now focused on the biodiversity of oceans, seas and rivers of the Planet Earth.

Grand opening of Poema del Mar in Gran Canaria

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The long-awaited inauguration of Poema del Mar, a modern and innovative aquarium launched by the company Loro Parque, took place on Sunday, 17th December in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Located right next to the Cruise Ship Pier in the Sanapu Dock only 200 meters away from the famous Las Canteras Beach, the aquarium has illuminated the centre of the capital of the island with an impressive multi-coloured shark silhouettes on the façade of the building.

The event featured the speech of Wolfgang Kiessling, President of Loro Parque; Christoph Kiessling, Vice-President of Loro Parque, followed by Luis Ibarra, President of the Port Authority; Augusto Hidalgo, Mayor of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria; Antonio Morales, President of Gran Canaria’s Local Government; Carolina Darias, President of the Canary Islands Parliament, and Fernando Clavijo, President of the Canary Islands Government. All of them agreed on the large scale of the project and outlined the positive impact that Poema del Mar will have for the city, Gran Canaria and the Canary Islands in general.

The opening ceremony included different exciting performances, such as the one by Los Gofiones, a known local band who livened up the mood of the attendees with popular music original of the Canary Islands. A group of actors that features body painting artwork by the makeup artist Nauzet Afonso brought to life the legacy of Nestor de la Torre as the name of the aquarium Poema del Mar is directly inspired by the art of this outstanding Gran Canarian artist. Furthermore, the opening was blessed by both the General Vicar of the Canariensis Diocese, Hipolito Cabrera, and the Bishop of the Nivariense Diocese, Bernardo Alvarez.

Poema del Mar is a modern and ambitious project with a strong commitment to innovation, conservation of biodiversity, and excellence in sustainable tourism development. The aquarium has been called as a project of ‘strategic regional interest’ by the authorities of the Canary Islands, Spain, which would reinforce Gran Canaria and the entire archipelago as one of the top international tourism destinations worldwide.

The new aquarium will continue the same commitment to quality and excellence as demonstrated by Loro Parque. Loro Parque has always maintained a firm commitment to wellbeing of the animals, conservation of the biodiversity, as well as to ensuring the highest quality of its facilities and to demonstrating respect for the environment. This has been confirmed through multiple national and international distinctions, as well as seals of quality and of environmental commitment received throughout Loro Parque’s 45-year history. Among the most recent recognitions both Loro Parque and Siam Park were recognized by TripAdvisor in 2017 as the Best Zoo and Best Water Park in the World, an award that Siam Park has received for the 4th consecutive year.

A visit to the aquarium Poema del Mar will consist in discovering three different areas: surface marine ecosystems, deep marine ecosystems and fresh water species. Visitors will start the tour submerging in ‘The Jungle’ that recreates the landscapes and biodiversity of different parts of the world. The next area is the ‘Reef’, an enormous cylinder of 400.000 litres of water with a wide variety of colours created by fish and coral reefs. The ‘Deep Sea’ is the third area that culminates the tour of the aquarium and will amaze the visitors with its exposition that contains 5.5 million litres of water and the largest curved window in the world: 36 metres long and 7.3 metres high.

Poema del Mar intends to convert into a reference for Atlantic marine conservation, especially in the Macaronesian zone and the African Atlantic coast. The conservation activities of the aquarium Poema del Mar will be coordinated with Loro Parque Fundación, an organization with more than 20 years of experience in the development of research, education and conservation activities all over the world. Since 1994, the Foundation has carried out more than 100 conservation projects in 30 countries worldwide, and has dedicated more than 17,000,000 U.S. dollars to the conservation of the highly endangered animal species.

In response to Free Morgan Foundation

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On December the 4th, the Free Morgan Foundation published a press release accusing Loro Parque of breaking the law “Orca Morgan Pregnant? Loro Parque in Violation!”. This is the latest smear campaign build by this organization trying to criticise Loro Parque and its activities, with the sole objective of release Morgan back to the wild, something that was refused more than three years ago by the Dutch Supreme Court.

Free Morgan Foundation tries to mislead the public opinion saying that the CITES permit was issued under the strict condition that has to be kept for research, suggesting that breeding was not allowed. But the truth is that the research use was the exemption to the Habitats Directive in order to keep Morgan used by the Dutch Authorities. This exception does not impede the breeding, and the CITES permit of Morgan does not limit breeding either. Free Morgan Foundation has been trying to convince the CITES Authorities about this bizarre interpretation of the CITES regulations sending letters to the Spanish, Dutch and International Autorities that enforce the Convention. And they have not received any support from them, on the contrary, the Spanish CITES Authorities answered that “ … it should be noted that the Community Certificate issued by the Dutch CITES MA doesn’t set any express legal limitation to breeding and authorized to keep the orca for research, breeding or education purposes.”. But Free Morgan Foundation never published this response in their website, nevertheless, you can find all the letters sent to the different CITES MA.

Free Morgan Foundation also accuses Loro Parque of “been busy trying to breed Morgan” despite “the ban on breeding and her young age which can be dangerous to both mother and calf.”. Morgan has been ovulating regularly during the last four years, hence it should be really easy to get her pregnant, as there is no difficuties in breeding killer whales. Nevertheless, Loro Parque haven’t tried to breed her, this pregnancy is totally spontaneous and confirms her integration in the group and the display of natural sexual behaviours. It is clear that the ban on breeding only exists in the imagination of Free Morgan Foundation, and about the age of Morgan, during the successive court cases (2010-2014) they were always arguing that she was older than 2 years at the moment of rescue. That means, in the opinion of Free Morgan Foundation, she will be giving birth to her calf when at the age of 11-12 years, which is the common time for Type 1 Eastern North Atlantic Killer Whales.

Finally, Free Morgan Foundation accuses Loro Parque of breeding orcas for “Financial profit” which is totally nonsense. Under the EU regulations all the cetacean species are considered non-commercial, hence they cannot be bought or sold, but only exchanged between authorized zoological facilities, making impossible any financial profit of breeding orcas.

In conclusion, all the arguments in Free Morgan Foundation press release are absolutely false, and they are aware of its falsehood. Their only goal is to damage the reputation of Loro Parque with defamatory statements, as they are also fully aware that Morgan is unreleasable as it was ruled by the Dutch Supreme Court in its final verdict. This campaign, and the new court case that they are promoting in Holland (an appeal to the two consecutive denegations by the CITES Dutch authorities of their request to invalidate Morgan’s CITES permit) are simply a smoke screen, it will be probably very profitable in terms of donations, but totally useless from the legal perspective.

Loro Parque Statement

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Loro Parque confirms that Morgan (one of the orca females housed in our facilities after being found almost dead and rescued in 2010 in the Wadden Sea) is pregnant. Pregnancies are a very frequent phenomenon in a modern zoological institution which takes care of tenths of thousands of animals from over 500 species. Commonly the gestational status of the animals is not communicated to the public, but in this case we have taken into consideration the exceptional public interest for Morgan.

This diagnostic was reached after a uterus ultrasound exploration due to a periodical medical check. The pregnancy was confirmed only four weeks ago.

The orca keepers and the veterinarian team of Loro Parque have the knowledge and expertise necessary to follow up the gestation, providing Morgan with the highest standards of animal care in the world.

Loro Parque considers the reproduction as a natural right of any animal which cannot be denied under any circumstances. Furthermore, breeding of animal species in zoos is one of the objectives according to the European Directive and the Spanish zoo’s law and is also supported by the criteria of the professional zoological associations, both national and international.

Better dead than fed, PETA says

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Source: Better dead than fed, PETA says

DON’T BE FOOLED by the slick propaganda of PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The organization may claim to champion the welfare of animals, as the many photos of cute puppies and kittens on its Web site suggest. But last week, two PETA employees were charged with 31 felony counts of animal cruelty each, after authorities found them dumping the dead bodies of 18 animals they had just picked up from a North Carolina animal shelter into a Dumpster. According to the Associated Press, 13 more dead animals were found in a van registered to PETA.

The arrest followed a rash of unwelcome discoveries of dead animals dumped in the area. According to veterinarian Patrick Proctor, the PETA people told North Carolina shelters they would try to find the dogs and cats homes. He handed over two adoptable kittens and their mother, only to learn later that they had died, without a chance to find a home, in the PETA van. “This is ethical?” Proctor railed over the phone. “I don’t really think so.”

This is not the first report that PETA killed animals it claimed to protect. In 1991, PETA killed 18 rabbits and 14 roosters it had previously “rescued” from a research facility. “We just don’t have the money” to care for them, then PETA-Chairman Alex Pacheco told the Washington Times. The PETA animal shelter had run out of room.

The Center for Consumer Freedom, which represents the food industry, a frequent target of PETA campaigns, released data filed by PETA with the state of Virginia that shows PETA has killed more than 10,000 animals from 1998 to 2003. “In 2003, PETA euthanized over 85 percent of the animals it took in,” said a press release from the lobby, “finding adoptive homes for just 14 percent. By comparison, the Norfolk (Va.) SPCA found adoptive homes for 73 percent of its animals and Virginia Beach SPCA adopted out 66 percent.”

The Center’s David Martosko considered PETA’s hefty budget — reportedly, $20 million — and many contributions from well-heeled Hollywood celebrities, then figured, “PETA has enough money in the bank to care for every unwanted animal in Virginia (where it has its headquarters) and North Carolina.”

PETA prefers to spend donations, apparently, not caring for flesh-and- blood animals entrusted to it but on campaigns attacking medical researchers, meat-eaters or women wearing furs. It is as if PETA prefers the idea of animals to animals themselves.

Why does PETA kill animals that might otherwise find a home?

I repeatedly phoned PETA, but never reached an official who would answer my questions. PETA’s Web site spun the story under the banner, “PETA helping animals in North Carolina” with an emphasis on its efforts to “solve the animal overpopulation in North Carolina.” Here’s more: “PETA has provided euthanasia services to various counties in that state to prevent animals from being shot with a .22 behind a shed or gassed in windowless metal boxes — both practices that were carried out until PETA volunteered to provide painless death for the animals.” Make that painless deaths for animals that could have found love.

Besides, PETA always has been about killing animals. A 2003 New Yorker profile included PETA top dog Ingrid Newkirk’s story of how she became involved in animal rights after a shelter put down stray kittens she brought there. So she went to work for an animal shelter in the 1970s, where, she explained, “I would go to work early, before anyone got there, and I would just kill the animals myself. Because I couldn’t stand to let them go through (other workers abusing the animals.) I must have killed a thousand of them, sometimes dozens every day.”

That’s right. PETA assails other parties for killing animals for food or research. Then it kills animals — but for really important reasons, such as running out of room.

Martosko hopes animal lovers will learn that their donations will do more good at a local animal shelter than at PETA. “For years,” he added, “we thought that PETA just cared for animals more than they cared for humans. But now it seems they don’t care much for either.”

No lie about not caring for people. In 2003, Newkirk hectored late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat because a terrorist blew up a donkey in an attempt to blow up people. Newkirk also told the New Yorker the world would be a better place without people. She explained why she had herself sterilized: “I am opposed to having children. Having a purebred human baby is like having a purebred dog; it’s nothing but vanity, human vanity.”

Now you know. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals doesn’t really like people. PETA has no use for ethics. And PETA kills animals.