A popular female orca will remain in captivity due to a judicial ruling on Thursday.
The orca, named Morgan, was discovered in the summer of 2010 off the northwestern coast of the Netherlands, reports Digital Journal. The whale, who was suffering from emaciation, was captured in the Wadden Sea and taken to Dutch aquarium Dolfinarium Harderwijk.
The original premise was to care for Morgan until she was healthy enough to be released into her natural habitat.
However, the aquarium went on to advise that Morgan was not suitable to be returned to the wild. In November of 2011 a Dutch court backed their assessment, deciding that the orca should be transferred to Loro Parque, a theme park in Tenerife, Spain.
The court approved transfer of the whale, issuing an export license on the grounds that she would be used for “educational purposes”.
Morgan’s supporters have fought hard for her release since she was first captured. The Orca Coalition, a group of marine wildlife experts, argued that the female whale is frequently attacked by other orcas at the park. They also claim the park is violating the export license by teaching her new tricks, according to Dutch News.
Thursday a judge in Amsterdam ruled that the theme park is not in violation of the export license and that the whale’s health had not been jeopardized.
As reported by Grind TV, Wietse van der Werf of the organization Black Fish, a part of the Orca Coalition, commented on the new ruling:
“We are very disappointed with this verdict, to say the least. It is a tragic day for Morgan and a tragic day for marine wildlife in general, which continues to be over-exploited and threatened, often within the realms of the law.”
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