Captive killer whale on way to Tenerife

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A female killer whale captured off the Dutch coast last year was due to leave a dolphinarium in the Netherlands on Tuesday to start a new life at a zoo in Tenerife, keepers said.

"We are ready to go, Morgan the whale has left her pool and is in her crate," spokesman Bert Van Plateringen told AFP by telephone from the dolphinarium in Harderwijk in central Norway.

The whale, weighing in at nearly 1,100 kilos (2,425 pounds), was winched out of the pool by crane before being deposited in a sort of hammock in a container half full of water, the Dutch news agency ANP reported.

"Truck, plane, truck," the spokesman said of how she would be transported. "For now, she is not stressed, she is quite calm."

Morgan was picked up in June last year in the Wadden sea off the northern Netherlands.

The pool at the dolphinarium had become too small for the whale, so zoo authorities decided to transfer her to the Loro Parque zoo on the Canary Islands.

Several environmental organisations wanted Morgan to be released at 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

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