In the case of “finders keepers, losers weepers” SeaWorld seldom returns what is not theirs.
Verdict Delayed for Morgan once again:
With the latest delay from the Dutch court estimated to be up to 6 weeks, it certainly seems that the length of that delay coordinates handily with the earliest available time frame of scientific pregnancy diagnosis which is by weekly progestagens that can indicate pregnancy in Killer Whales at five weeks.
In a research paper published in 2007 SeaWorld admits it has long been playing ‘Mad Scientist’ with estrus cycles through the use of orally applied synthetic hormones and manipulating preferential production of female offspring by inseminating animals with X chromosome-bearing spermatozoa. The techniques are called ART and are described as:Assisted reproductive technology (ART). ART, specifically gamete preservation for genome resource banking, artificial insemination and sperm sexing, has been used to significantly enhance the genetic, reproductive and social management of ex situ cetaceans.
In short, through manipulating reproductive cycles and the insemination of genetically controlled sperm, they can produce more cetacean of the desired sex whenever they want, not when the animal is on it’s natural cycle. These techniques could have certainly been used to trigger a timely estrus cycle in Morgan, inseminate her and start the clock on waiting for confirmation of pregnancy. At the time of the published report, successful Artificial Insemination via these techniques had resulted in pregnancy success rates of up to 75%. That is bad news for the release of Morgan.
The following chart shows the best case scenario for the growth of the SeaWorld Cetacean population through genetic modification and manipulating estrus cycles:
SeaWorld – A need to Breed
There are currently two SeaWorld owned male orcas at Loro Parque and the opportunity to mate them with Morgan would give SeaWorld an entirely new genetic strain to continue its breeding program. Although Morgan is only 5, and their own research supports that female Orca do not reach reproductive maturity until the age of 7-8, SeaWorld has bred females as young as age 4-5.
As in the case of Keiko, SeaWorld has quickly claimed ownership of Morgan after her rescue and now lists her on their official inventory in filings with the SEC. A pregnancy would be the end of years of legal struggle, scientific intervention by the likes of Dr. Ingrid Visser, and strong support from animal advocates by the hundreds of thousands who have worked tirelessly to spread awareness as the plight of the orca, and demanding her immediate release.
We don’t capture from the wild, we reward those that do
SeaWorld continues to proclaim loudly that they have not participated in live capture of cetaceans for ’35 Years’, however they have yet to let an orca return to the wild without interceding and making a case for continued captivity of the animal. The unwritten message to the world is that if an orca happens to encounter some distress which requires intervention, there will be a big financial gain down the line for those that capture the animal, as it will most certainly end up in the breeding program of SeaWorld.
For more information on the background of Morgan read this blog post from Tim Zimmerman
Or visit the Free Morgan Foundation
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