Another Captive Orca Impregnated Too Young

Another captive orca is pregnant. Loro Parque, a marine-mammal amusement park in Spain, had reportedly been trying to breed Morgan, who is only about 10 years old, “for years,” according to the Free Morgan Foundation, based in the European Union. The average age at which female orcas begin to reproduce in nature is 14.9 years.

Morgan rubbing her head on the concrete at Loro Parque

Breeding an orca at such an unnaturally young age can be dangerous for both the mother and calf, and the physical and psychological stress of captivity compounds potential problems. According to the Free Morgan Foundation, it was illegal under EU law for the park to breed her.

All four orcas remain at Loro Parque, along with Morgan, who was taken from the wild under a rescue, rehabilitation, and release permit. Though she recovered, she was never released back into the ocean. Approximately four years ago, Loro Parque began putting her in a tank with Keto, who fathered two orcas for SeaWorld, in an apparent attempt to breed the adolescent.

SeaWorld still legally owned the orcas until recently, when it announced the end of its Loro Parque “business relationship due to a contractual dispute.” The disagreement was almost certainly over the Spanish park’s insistence on breeding orcas despite SeaWorld’s new policy against it following an intense public outcry. Rather than ensuring that the orcas in Spain weren’t bred, SeaWorld apparently just gave them up.

Speak up for Morgan today. Sign PETA U.K.’s petition urging the Spanish government to release her into a seaside sanctuary.