Heartbreaking footage shows the moment a killer whale jumped from its enclosure in an attempt to ‘commit suicide’, according to onlookers.
The video of Morgan the orca was captured by a tourist at Loro Parque in Tenerife.
In an apparent attempt to take her own life, Morgan dives from her tank and slumps her huge mass on a concrete slab out of the water.
Some onlookers claimed Morgan was trying to beach herself, in an attempt to escape the horror of the confined tanks they are kept in.
But park experts said the whale’s behaviour in the medical tank was ‘normal’.
Morgan was captured off the coast of the Netherlands in June 2010, and is currently owned by SeaWorld along with five other whales at the Canary Islands park.
The footage, shot by an anonymous visitor to the park, shows her laying motionless at the side of the tank as tourists walk past, seemingly disinterested in the Morgan’s bizarre behaviour.
Although the recording captures just under two minutes of Morgan’s ‘suicide attempt’, the desperate whale is said to have remained on the concrete slab for around 10 minutes.
The footage attracted huge online criticism against the confinement and treatment of the orcas at Loro Parque.
Efrat Cybulkiewicz said: “Looks to me as if she’s trying to take her own life. I don’t blame her.”
Mike Eddy commented on the cruel practice of capturing wild animals for entertainment purposes, claiming it was “all for greed-driven profit” and said those responsible need to “evolve and release them to sanctuaries.
While orcas will sometimes come ashore in order to hunt, they rarely spend long periods of time our of the water as their huge body mass is too heavy to support itself on land.
The video comes after campaign group, the Dolphin Group , highlighted more strange behaviour from Morgan.
Last month a video showed the her being held in a tiny ‘medical tank’ as she repeatedly bangs her head against the metal cages in an apparent attempt to break free.
According to the Dolphin Project, the video shows Morgan panicking in the small pool.
Loro Parque later claimed Morgan’s behaviour in the medical tank was ‘normal’.
A spokesperson said: “The video published by the Dolphin Project on its website is a new attempt at manipulation through exaggeration and dramatisation of a completely normal situation in which there is no problem for the animals.”
A spokeswoman for Loro Parque said despite tourists’ concerns into Morgan’s welfare, she is “thriving” and will continue to tale part in performances.
She said: “Loro Parque is a respected zoological institution, and our two organizations manage the care of these killer whales cooperatively. We consult regularly with them on veterinary care, husbandry and training, and have enjoyed a long association with them on conservation programs, animal rescue and scientific research.
“Morgan receives regular health and wellness exams from a team of veterinarians and animal care specialists, and is currently healthy and thriving.
“In fact, she continues to grow and gain weight at a healthy rate since her rescue in 2010 when she was found alone and emaciated. There are no concerns with Morgan sliding out as shown in the video as the whales do this with some regularity.