Rescued killer whale starts new life in Spain
A female killer whale captured in the North Sea began a new life in the Canary Islands on Wednesday after being flown over from The Netherlands, a Spanish zoo said.
Morgan the whale arrived to join five other killer whales at the Loro Parque on the Spanish island of Tenerife, Javier Almunia, one of the directors of the foundation that runs conservation projects at the wildlife park, told AFP.
"She is getting used to her new surroundings. The trainers say she is very well and is eating," he said. "When she is ready they will start introducing her to the other animals in the park."
Almunia said Morgan, who was found last year in the sea off The Netherlands, was believed to have fallen sick after getting separated from her family.
Killer whales cannot survive alone, for only by hunting in a group are they able to swoop on shoals of herrings and eat enough to nourish them, he explained.
"It is thought that for some reason she got separated from her mother," Almunia said. "A killer whale cannot survive on its own."
Morgan was malnourished when she was found in June 2010 in the Wadden sea off the Netherlands and taken to a dolphinarium in nearby Harderwijk.
After being fattened up there for a year, she became too big for her pool.
On Tuesday Dutch handlers winched Morgan, who weighs nearly 1,100 kilos (2,425 pounds), out of her pool in Harderwijk and sent her by plane in a crate to Tenerife.
Environmental groups wanted Morgan to be released into the sea and took the case to court, but on November 21 an Amsterdam court ruled that the whale stood no reasonable chance of surviving in the wild and authorised her transfer.
© 2011 AFP