Rose doesn’t believe the park should have ever allowed this to happen, mainly due to Morgan’s young age and her inexperience as a mom.
“A young orca is taught how to be a mom during her juvenile and adolescent life stages,” Rose told The Dodo. “She even babysits siblings, other relatives, and sometimes the offspring of her mother’s friends in the years leading up to her first birth. She intensifies this babysitting behavior (technically called alloparental care) during her first pregnancy. Then, when she gives birth, she is attended by ‘aunties’ — her mother, her actual aunts, her sisters, her cousins, other female podmates. She is not alone — she is assisted.”
“In captivity, obviously this tried-and-true system is subverted,” Rose added. “Young orcas often have no mentors and no opportunities to babysit. They grow up ignorant. They do their best after birth, but may literally not know what to do. This is the downside of sophisticated cognition — even mothering is not instinctive. You have to learn and if you don’t have the opportunity, you might fail at it.”