A few days after the above photo was taken, a video emerged of Morgan appearing to panic while held in the small medical tank, flailing around and banging her head over and over into the heavy grate that separated her from the main tank.
According to the FMF researchers, Morgan was likely stressed by the small size of the holding pool, which greatly restricts the orcas' freedom of movement and has the added discomfort of a floor that can lift at any moment, pulling them out of the water altogether.
"Loro Parque consistently uses the medical tank as a holding tank during shows, which places unacceptable physical and social stressors on the orca," the researchers wrote. "These vivid actions of Morgan [in the video] clearly indicate acute elevated levels of distress ... anyone with even the most basic understanding of animal behaviour can recognise that the thrashing, strident calling and smashing into the gates is far from 'normal', 'natural' or even a 'trained' behaviour."
But Morgan is hardly the only SeaWorld orca who's suffering. As The Dodo previously reported, the report also found that many of the orcas were losing their teeth and had scars on their jaws from chewing and swimming into their tank walls. And Keto, a 21-year-old male who was born at SeaWorld San Antonio before being lent to Loro Parque, appears to have a number of skin conditions, as highlighted in the report.
One photo of his saddle patch - the white mark that straddles an orca's back behind his dorsal fin - shows mysterious pockmarks of unknown origin.