Morgan: The Story of An Orca in Captivity

Written by on October 30, 2012 in Marine Life, Policy & Ocean Law

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard about Morgan, the young female orca whose captivity sparked a lot of controversy.  Her situation has been debated ever since she was captured from the wild two years ago, and her fate will be decided this week, on Nov 1.

Morgan was captured on June 23, 2010 off the coast of the Netherlands.  She was somehow separated from her family and was found sick and underweight.  The Dutch government allowed her to be captured by the Dolfinarium Harderwijk in order to rehabilitate her, which was predicted to take between three and six months. Six months later, however, the dolphinarium announced that she would not be released, even though she made a full recovery.

Then, in November 2011, the dolphinarium announced that Morgan would be relocated Loro Parque, an amusement park in the Canary Islands.

This week, three Judges in Amsterdam will investigate Morgan’s transfer, and the legality of her captivity.

The average lifespan for an orca in the wild is 30-46 years but they have been known to live up to 80.  An orca in captivity has an average lifespan of only 8.5 years.

There are plenty of examples of other whales being successfully released back into the ocean.  Morgan has lived in the wild longer than she has been in captivity and because experts have determined what pod she is from, it is unlikely that it will be a difficult transition for her.  If you’re interested in helping Morgan by signing a petition to help get her released, you can do so by clicking on this link.

Watch the following video from to learn a little more about Morgan and her situation.

Copyright © 2012 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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