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Dolfinarium Harderwijk Young orca rescued

Discussion in 'Netherlands' started by jwer, 24 Jun 2010.

  1. jwer

    jwer Well-Known Member

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    Yesterday evening, a very young, weakened, skinny and most likely ill orca of an estimated 3,5 meters was rescued in the north of the Netherlands near Lauwersoog. It has been captured and taken to the Dolfinarium Harderwijk where it is held at the moment in the treatment pools behind the large show-bassin (the dome) which are (of course) behind the scenes.

    It's a female and it has eaten some pounds of fish during the night. The plan is to "treat the animal and release it back into the wild", but how that is going to be done remains to be seen. For now it's fingers crossed the little helpless thing survives.

    It's been decades since the last orca was seen in Dutch waters, so this is really unusual...

    I'll try and keep you updated how this story develops...
     
  2. John Dineley

    John Dineley Well-Known Member

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  3. John Dineley

    John Dineley Well-Known Member

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  4. Johnny

    Johnny Well-Known Member

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    I can't help it, it's exciting! This is the first killer whale in harderwijk since 1987, and I still have memories of the previous one. I was a little boy, the few times I saw her, but it gave this species a special place in my heart. 2006 was the first oppotunity to see killer whales again since my childhood, and off course I grasped it! So I can't help hoping the animal will be on display after a while....
     
  5. John Dineley

    John Dineley Well-Known Member

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    !
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 6 Jul 2017
  6. jwer

    jwer Well-Known Member

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    Morgan is now on show. Visitors can walk past the exhibit through a fixed route every day between 10 and 12:30. The impact of this on the animal was tested last friday, and Morgan did not seem to mind at all.

    Dammit, now i have to go and buy an expensive ticket to see her :)
     
  7. jwer

    jwer Well-Known Member

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    According to a press conference this morning, Orca Morgan will not be returned to the wild, as her family is unknown and they have doubts she would be accepted by another pod.

    Not sure what will happen with her now... They have already said she won't stay in Harderwijk, so i guess any dolfinarium with orca's could be a candidate (most likely Marineland Antibes, Loro Parque or Sea World Florida).
     
  8. John Dineley

    John Dineley Well-Known Member

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    This would seem to be the most sensible solution. The chances of finding her family is very small - if they are still alive? Which could be one reason she was found in a starving and distressed state.

    The animal-rights people wont like it but that's their problem.
     
  9. jwer

    jwer Well-Known Member

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    I'm still a bit sceptical. What makes them think any northern pod would not accept a very young female? It seems only beneficial to their pod to accept her. I don't think there's any evidence this wouldn't work. Combine that with a probably strong lobby from the industry, and i'm not sure anymore wether keeping her would be in her BEST interest. Perhaps they should just try it, and if she doesn't make it then there would finally be some real evidence it wouldn't work, in case anything like this happens again.

    Not that i would mind keeping her in captivity, it's just that i feel the anti-lobby does have a point...
     
  10. John Dineley

    John Dineley Well-Known Member

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    I think we do have enough evidence that this may not work.

    Keiko the killer whale
     
  11. jwer

    jwer Well-Known Member

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    Keiko wasn't a very young female now, was he?

    Although I now learned that all the experts in the report seem to agree that acceptance by another pod is "not likely". I respect their opinions, and since so many (i think 7 people where asked) agree, who am i to doubt, but i wonder on what basis they came to that conclusion...
     
  12. Kifaru Bwana

    Kifaru Bwana Well-Known Member

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    The highly publicised killer whale Keiko case has been thoroughly discussed elsewhere. It was an example of how politicised the whale subject is that it the IUCN criteria on reintroduction got compromised for "animal welfare" concerns that eventually led to its animal welfare being ... (exactly compromised).

    Having had personal experience of reintroduction exercise, I just know how hard it is for any individual animal whether captive or wild in origin to be re-wilded. This was all the more poignant in the Keiko case, where the individual had spent most of its formative and adult life in captivity.

    Given that Morgan's pod remains unknown and cannot be found it seems highly unlikely that a highly social animal like a killer whale would ever be able to fend on its own. Besides, IUCN guidelines on reintroduction are quite clear on these issues too. IMO, the experts have been right here to decide against any attempt at reintroduction. Given their social nature, killer whale/orca Morgan would be better off in one of the suggested bigger aquaria where family pods of killer whales/orcas exist.

    There is just one issue with to which killer whale/orca type species she belongs ... (as orcas have recently been divided and are now regarded by whale scientists as probably belonging to several species). I believe - but correct me if I am wrong - that most of the SW pods are Pacific in origin? Morgan is an Atlantic killer whale.
     
  13. Johnny

    Johnny Well-Known Member

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    I believe to have heard that the primary locations where orca's were being caught were vancouver island and iceland. But I wonder if it's a problem for morgan ( after all a young animal), to adapt to another pod. Gudrun ( another harderwijk orca) was also icelandic, and moved to seaworld, and got offspring there. And I wonder, scientists tend to regard the definition of species as absolute, do orca's feel the same? And should we really be concerned anout it, after all, mankind is working hard mixing all our 'species'.
     
  14. Kifaru Bwana

    Kifaru Bwana Well-Known Member

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    Yes, we should care ...! Biology - for what it is worth - is not a man-made concept or vision. The species concept I am referring to here is a totally different ball game than you are using it here for.

    For starters: Homo sapiens is a species in its own right with several individual races (Caucasian, negroid, Mongol et cetera). Yes, these mix ... and get admixed. End of story. (NOTE: I am not making any racially motivated statements here).

    In fact the killer whale story concerns maybe 3 different species .... based on their individual ecology, morphology and exemplified by their language and song. Their is a coastal, an oceanic and a sedentary type.

    This very much mirrors the situation in f.e. some gibbon species if that is a subject you are familiar with. In these quite recently the entire Nomascus genus was reclassified and a new species N. annamensis described scientifically.

    It might be that most if not all captive killer whales are of the oceanic type
    (however, I am not clear on that).
     
  15. kiang

    kiang Well-Known Member

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  16. John Dineley

    John Dineley Well-Known Member

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    This is a young group of animals and probably the best option for Morgan.

    Hopefully the half-wits from the animal-rights groups in the Netherlands Orca Coalition and elsewhere will now just shut-up and forget the stupid half-baked plans to try and get their hands on this animal for some form of release project and drop their attempts to block this move in the Dutch courts.

    It really is about time these groups where treated with the total contempt they deserve as they are not and never have been 'experts' on the care of orcas or any marine mammals. These groups had their chance with 'Keiko' and that failed after conning many gullible people into giving them millions of dollars so they could play 'orca trainer' in a sea-pen off Iceland. This poor animal after it 'release' (when the money ran out) ended up begging for food in Norway. Some success.

    Keiko the killer whale

    If they had serious interests in this animals welfare they wouldn't even be considering releasing Morgan to a untold fate. But of course they are animal-rights ideologues and this is very different to animal-welfare.

    It would also be nice if there was some praise for Harderwijk in saving this animal which would have died if they had not rescued her.
     
  17. zoomaniac

    zoomaniac Well-Known Member

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    I could'nt wrote it better myself. Thanks John Dineley.
     
  18. jwer

    jwer Well-Known Member

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    I don't agree with you at all. First of all, setting people with a different opinion aside as half-wits annoys me. Allthough I don't support their efforts, I can understand people would have another opinion and respect them for it.

    I'm totally annoyed by "SOS Dolfijn", the official organisation that rescued her for EXPLICITLY saying (mulitple times) during her rescue THAT SHE WOULD BE RELEASED. When I read it, the first thing that sprang to mind was "no she isn't". Anyone with a half-baked knowledge about these animals would immediately have said that release would be highly unlikely (as in, no way).

    Rescueing her under such pretense was rediculous and immediately set them up for these protests. If you ask me, because of this there is one option and that is to release her near a wild pod. She's a young female who has a much greater chance of being picked up then an old male like Keiko.

    Second point; What i heared is that the orca group at Loro Parque is very unstable at the moment for lack of a matriarch, and their seperation pen is used by youngster "Adan". As far as I understood the grown individuals can't be kept together for a long period of time for fear of injuring one another. Can someone confirm this? Perhaps Marineland Antibes would have been a more stable pod for her to start life as an Orca...

    Third; Although the Dolfinarium Harderwijk undoubtably spend time and effort in rescueing her, the main organization responsable is "SOS Dolfijn", so I guess if you want to thank someone that would be the one.
     
  19. zoomaniac

    zoomaniac Well-Known Member

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    @jwer: Hmmh, I must confess, that I can not confute all your arguments.
    I don't want to forestall John Dineley, but I think I must a little verify the fact, why I was (an in generall still are) agree with him:

    First: Different opinions are absolutely okay. The point is, what comes with it. Many (if not most) animal RIGHTS activist have a militant side and are not open to arguments. They should not be confused or mixed with animal WELFARE people. It is like "normal" muslims and fanatic islamists (maybe not the best exemple, but you know what I mean). And I have problems by having respect to people that claim to "deliberate" zooanimals no matter if they have to die a cruel dead afterwards. Or peoble who glorifiying one species (dolphin) but don't care about others (e.g. invertebrates - or did you here any slogans from the animal rights activists to free birdeatings spiders from zoos?)

    Second: I did not follow the complete story of what "SOS Dolfijn" told about Morgan (also because my Dutch is very limited). But when they NEVER spoke about the possibility, that Morgan must maybe stay in captivity, then that was wrong. So I agree with you in that point.

    Third: The Rescue was not rediculous. The main goal was (and I guess that would animal WELFARE people underline) to safe the life of this individual. If I have the circumstances correct in my mind, that was only possible in captivity.
    The chance to release her succesfull might be higher then in the case of Keiko. But the chances, that it would also fail (because of the immense costs for example) are nerverthless very high.

    Fourthly: I think it is important, that Morgan can get connexion to their kind as soon as possible. I would be very amazed, if the professionals in Harderwijk did not also send an enquiry to Antibes for an option to place Morgan there. So maybe Loro Parque was at the moment the best solution?
     
  20. jwer

    jwer Well-Known Member

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    "The Orca Coalition", which consists of a group of people that want Morgan released in the wild, have succesfully appealed for Morgan to stay in the Netherlands for now.

    The judge ruled that the approval of moving Morgan to Teneriffe by the Dutch gouvernment was given too hastily and that they seriously need to reconsider the options before handing out any approval to move her.

    After this ruling, the Dolfinarium has given out a statement saying that in the meantime she would be given a bit more space. Considering the pool she is in at the moment is connected to their main show area (the Dome), this would probably mean she's going to be let into the showtank during off-show hours. At least she'll be able to stretch her fins a little more then she is now...