The Asia for Animals (AFA) coalition has sent a letter to Mr. Su Zhigang, chairman of the Guangdong Chimelong Group, to express their "deep concern with regards the capture of killer whales, or orcas, from their natural habitat to reportedly be imported into China to provide entertainment at [your] Ocean Kingdom in Zhuhai".
Included within the body of the letter are points on capture, transportation and confinement methods, the natural biology of orca, education in relation to performance shows involving tricks and aggression of orca towards human trainers. It is concluded that orca are not suited to a life in captivity and in such a situation, orca welfare is compromised.
The coalition is appealing to Mr. Zhigang to "organise the release of these whales back into their natural habitat... and to commit to not capturing any marine mammals from the wild for display at Ocean Kingdom in the future."
The AFA coalition represents 15 international organisations, including International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), Animals Asia and International Animal Rescue (IAR). A further 132 organisations have signed the letter to show their support. These organisations represent millions of people who are concerned about the welfare of animals and particularly the welfare of these orca.
We spoke with Alan Knight OBE, head of IAR, who told us, "I am horrified that China has started to import wild orca in dolphinariums. These are the first two and I am very worried that they will be followed by more. The capture of wild orca is cruel and serves no educational or scientific purpose. The business is all about making money. We should do everything in our power to stop it and return these majestic animals to their rightful home - the sea."
The coalition agree that due to the short time these orca have spent in captivity, "a return to the wild has a high probability of success if done soon...".
You can read the full letter below:
The release of orca Morgan's appeal hearing verdict has been postponed by 6 weeks. Visit www.freemorgan.org to find out more about Morgan and how you can help.
Photo: Morgan (c) Sam Lipman / Orca Aware
A letter to Sir Richard Branson from Whale and Dolphin Conservation:
The latest article about orca Morgan by Tim Zimmermann. Find out more about Morgan at www.freemorgan.org and Free Morgan Foundation.
It is still unclear why the 9 orca stranded in New Zealand but it is now known that they are not members of the NZ population. This is a small consolation as there are only 200 orca off the NZ coastline. To learn more about the NZ orca, visit the Orca Research Trust at www.orcaresearch.org.
A lone orca calf has been seen swimming in the shallows at Instøya, Øksnes in Norway over the last couple of days. Marine biologist Tiu Similia had hoped the calf would reunite with its family but, so far, this has not been the case. The calf has been heard vocalising loudly. Tiu Similia thinks the young individual, who is too young to hunt for food, has no chance of survival if the situation remains the same.
New research paper available: Severity of killer whale behavioral responses to ship noise: A dose–response study
Experts hope to solve New Zealand orca stranding mystery:
Reports suggest that nine orcas have died after stranding in New Zealand. NZ's experts at the Orca Research Trust are aware of this and are making their way to the remote location where the animals can be found. You can read more on the story here:
From David Kirby, author of "Death at SeaWorld":
With only 200 orca in the New Zealand population, nine individuals constitutes 5% of the population. Visit www.orcaresearch.org to find out more about the New Zealand orca and how you can help conserve them.
Who is behind the wild Russian orca captures? Tim Zimmermann takes a look: