Netherlands ok's killer whale move to Canary Island park

Oct 12, 2011
Morgan, a young Orca whale, swims in a pool at the Dolphinarium in Harderwijk, Netherlands in September 2011. The Dutch government said on Wednesday it would move the killer whale, who was found ailing off the coast last year, to an animal park in the Canary Islands despite objections by animal rights groups.

The Dutch government said on Wednesday it would move a killer whale that was found ailing off the coast last year to an animal park in the Canary Islands despite objections by animal rights groups.

"The orca... can be transported to the Loro Parque zoo" in Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands off Africa's northwestern coast, the economy ministry said in a statement.

The whale, which was found off the Netherlands coast and taken to a marine park in central Harderwijk in 2010, was originally due to be transferred to Tenerife in July.

But the move was suspended after activist groups challenged it in courts, arguing that the orca, a young female dubbed Morgan, should instead be set free.

An Amsterdam court then ordered the government to conduct a more thorough query into the matter and to better lay out its reasoning for transferring the whale.

On Wednesday Henk Bleker, state secretary charged with economic affairs, said the transfer was necessary because it was uncertain whether the whale could fend for itself in the wild.

"In my opinion, the place for an animal like Morgan is in the wild, but that should not come at the expense of its well-being," he was quoted as saying in a statement.

"We do not know with certainty if she will be able to hunt for food by herself," he said.

The Hardewijk where Morgan was taken after his rescue said it wants the animal moved as soon as possible because at one tonne it is much too large for the pool.

The "Orca Coalition" association told AFP it would appeal Wednesday's government decision.

Morgan was spotted in the Wadden Sea in June 2010, the first time a killer whale had been sighted in the area in more than 60 years.

generally live in groups in waters deeper than the Wadden Sea, which stretches around 500 kilometres (310 miles) from the southwestern Netherlands up to Denmark.

A dead killer whale was washed up on a beach at western Noordwijk in 1963, but no live sightings have been recorded since 1947, according to the Dutch environment ministry.

Explore further: Telling the time of day by color

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Telling the time of day by color

Apr 17, 2015

Research by scientists at The University of Manchester has revealed that the colour of light has a major impact on how the brain clock measures time of day and on how the animals' physiology and behavior adjust accordingly. ...

Aphrodisiac for fish and frogs discovered

Apr 17, 2015

A supplement simply added to water has been shown to boost reproduction in nematodes (roundworms), molluscs, fish and frogs – and researchers believe it could work for humans too.

Evolution puts checks on virgin births

Apr 17, 2015

It seems unnatural that a species could survive without having sex. Yet over the ages, evolution has endowed females of certain species of amphibians, reptiles and fish with the ability to clone themselves, ...

Humans can't resist those puppy-dog eyes

Apr 16, 2015

When humans and their four-legged, furry best friends look into one another's eyes, there is biological evidence that their bond strengthens, researchers report.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.