Statement on Morgan by Ric O’Barry
Morgan, the captive orca being held at Loro Parque in Tenerife, Spain, has generated much media interest of late. Several videos have been taken, depicting behaviors that warrant further scrutiny. Following a statement from the park, as well as by SeaWorld, both claiming that Morgan is doing “great,” and that her behaviors are “totally natural,” Ric O’Barry has released the following statement:
The decision to deny Morgan a chance to return to the sea was politically motivated. The decision makers cannot provide any empirical scientific data to substantiate their claim that Morgan is not a candidate for release.
One can only guess as to how Morgan became the private property of SeaWorld. Morgan is now listed on SeaWorld’s website as one of its assets – an asset worth millions of dollars. A pretty sweet gift to a corporation that has a very high mortality rate and a long standing record of abusing orcas and other marine mammals.
Let’s assume, hypothetically, that Morgan cannot be reunited with her family. Does that mean she has to spend the rest of her life in a concrete tank at an amusement park in Tenerife? Of course not. If SeaWorld had a heart, they would transfer her to a sea sanctuary. They have the money to create such a place. They owe it to Morgan and the other orcas whose lives they have ruined.” ~ Richard O’Barry, Founder/Director, Dolphin Project
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Photo: Phil, Creative Commons License 2.0
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Ric O’Barry, Dolphin Project Founder & Director has worked on both sides of the captive dolphin issue, making him an invaluable asset in the efforts to end exploitation. He worked for 10 years within the dolphin captivity industry, and has spent the past 40 working against it.
In the 1960s, O’Barry was employed by the Miami Seaquarium, where he captured and trained dolphins, including the five dolphins who played the role of Flipper in the popular American TV-series of the same name. He also trained Hugo, the first orca kept in captivity east of the Mississippi. When Kathy, the dolphin who played Flipper most of the time, died in his arms, O’Barry realized that capturing dolphins and training them to perform silly tricks is simply wrong.
From that moment on, O’Barry knew what he must do with his life. On the first Earth Day, 1970, he launched a searing campaign against the multi-billion dollar dolphin captivity industry and has been going at it ever since.
Over the past 40 years, Ric O’Barry has rescued and rehabilitated dolphins in many countries around the world, including Haiti, Colombia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Brazil, the Bahamas Islands and the United States. He is a leading voice in the fight to end brutal dolphin hunts in Japan, the Solomon Islands, the Faroe Islands, and wherever else they occur.
O’Barry has been recognized by many national and international entities for his dedicated efforts, such as being voted Huffington Post’s 2010 Most Influential Green Game Changer, and being listed on O Magazine’s 2010 Power List – Men We Admire for his “Power of Passion.” O’Barry received an Environmental Achievement Award, presented by the United States Committee for the United Nations Environmental Program. He has done countless interviews with such prestigious news programs as Larry King Live, Anderson Cooper 360, the Mike Huckabee Show, and the Oprah Winfrey Show.
His book Behind the Dolphin Smile was published in 1989; a second book, To Free A Dolphin was published in September 2000. Both of them are about his work and dedication. He is the star of the Academy Award-winning documentary The Cove and the Animal Planet television series Blood Dolphin$.