In 1977, Harderwijk received another six wild caught orcas destined for a life-time of captivity. With the SeaWorld agreement in place, three orcas were shipped out within a month to U.S.A. SeaWorld Parks. Magnus, a young male who was probably intended to stay with Gudrun to mate, sadly died at Haderwijk after only a few weeks. Such was the cruelty involved with these wild captures.
Winnie and Hoi-Wai, two young females, stayed with Gudrun for four months before being shipped to England's Windsor Park.
For the next ten years Gudrun remained alone, without any of her kind around her, performing tricks and making the owners millionaires. She became larger and more mature, so Harderwijk decided she was ready to be impregnated. They contacted their old partners, SeaWorld, and arranged a 'breeding loan deal' where both aquariums would share her offspring. But, realising they would lose their 'star attraction/ performer' they chose to swap Gudrun for two false killer whales, in order to keep their shows going.
SeaWorld employees went to Japan and collected three false killer whales who were captured during the infamous Taiji drive hunt. This is where Japanese fishermen chase pods of dolphins and small whales into a cove, then slaughter the majority while selecting a few to sell to the aquarium trade. SeaWorld's Brad Andrews and Jim McBain personally delivered these poor creatures to Harderwijk.
Gudrun's story doesn't end happily. As soon as she arrived at SeaWorld she was impregnated. She performed well and was used as a 'show pony', regularly having children sit on her back, even while she was heavily pregnant.
She gave birth to a female named Taima. Four years later she gave birth to a second calf, Nyar, a physically and mentally affected calf. Despite this, Gudrun was immediately impregnated yet again.
Her new calf was stillborn and became stuck within her body. In order to remove the calf, the trainers inserted a metal hook and cable into Gudrun's body, and used a winch to pull the dead calf out from her womb. This resulted internal bleeding which slowly killed her over the four days that followed.
This ended the 'sharing babies deal' between Harderwijk and SeaWorld.
For many years Harderwijk had no orcas, until June 2010. During that year, a young female orca was found, sick, in the Wadden Sea. She was captured by the dolphinarium staff under the guise of a 'rehabilitation and release permit'. She was in poor health and under-nourished.
Harderwijk contacted their old friends, SeaWorld. Of course, the potential of a young 'fresh genetics' female was too much of a lure.
After four months she was healthy enough for release. The experts at Harderwijk should have enrolled her into a rehabilitation programme. Instead, Morgan was put on display for seventeen months. Again, Harderwijk enjoyed a great boost in visitors and profits. In 2011 the dolphinarium made 14.4 million Euros due to her captivity.
Even though there was a rehabilitation programme in place, one backed strongly by the Norwegians because she was traced as being part of the Norwegian pod, Harderwijk refused to consider it. They insisted that a release to the wild was not possible, despite her clean bill of health.
SeaWorld, who had assisted with her capture, lobbied to have her sent to Loro Parque, Tenerife, where a 'collection' of their surplus orcas were on display to the public.
The Orca Coalition put forward a great case, involving marine experts, to rehabilitate Morgan. Ingrid Visser, a marine biologist involved with the proposal for Morgan's release into the Norwegian Sea, said, "There is as much as an eighty-percent chance of her survival in the wild, with the proper care." The court decided to send her to the show pool of Loro Parque.
News agency ANP reported ~ It emerged the Dolfinarium swapped Morgan for a number of dolphins. The park also agreed to pay €100,000 to the Spanish centre because the cost of taking care of her would not pay for itself.
With her fate sealed, Morgan was sent to Tenerife where she has been bullied relentlessly by other orcas, showing over six-hundred bite marks on her skin.
Why was her rehab and release plan ignored? She was never meant to be put on public display.
What signed her fate? Is it the fact that Harderwijk knew, from past experience, that a captive orca would bring much profit?
For more information, click here: http://www.bornfree.org.uk/campaigns/zoo-check/captive-whales-dolphins/morgan-the-orca/
Note: Harderwijk has been sold to Aspro Parks who have a collection of dolphinariums throughout Europe. Keep in mind, they are not known for rescue and rehabilitation. Only time can tell what'll happen next.