Morgan the orca arrives safely in Tenerife

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Early on Tuesday morning, Morgan the orca was hoisted into a truck and a convoy carrying the young killer whale set off from the Hardewijk dolphinarium to the airport and the plane that would carry her to her new home in Tenerife.

The 1,400 kilogram female orca made the journey in a special hammock that restricted her movements and protected her fins. Trainers kept her skin wet throughout the journey. The city of Hardewijk had issued a temporary ban blocking free Morgan demonstrations during the transfer as there were fears that activists may try and prevent the orca is move to Tenerife. Free Morgan spokesperson Nancy Slot told journalists, "we would never do anything that could endanger Morgan."

The killer whale was rescued from shallow waters off the North Sea coast in June 2010; when she was rescued she weighed just 400 kilograms, which is far too little for a two-year-old killer whale. The government issued a permit allowing her capture, on condition that the killer whale would be restored to health and released into the wild. Norwegian whale Experts called in by the Hardewijk dolphinarium said Morgan’s chances of survival in the wild were very slender unless she could be reunited with her natal pod. Analysis of her vocal pattern shows that she originally came from Norwegian waters but her family pod has not been located.

The young orca has recovered and because she is now too big for her tank in Hardewijk, the dolphinarium decided that Morgan would be better off in the Loro Parque in Tenerife. International treaties prohibit trading in killer whales and Dutch animal activist challenged the decision to move Morgan to Tenerife. The activists lost the initial court case as well as the subsequent appeal.

Orcas are thought to be the second most intelligent and social mammalian species on the planet.


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