Thursday 01 July 2021 | 35

Our investigators saw Ula in a state of extreme emaciation

Our investigators saw Ula in a state of extreme emaciation

Mis à jour le 17 November 2021

In the month of May, and when the latest news published by Loro Park in April about Ula was bad, our investigators went to Tenerife’s dolphinarium. We had to go and see for ourselves what was going on. After this visit to the Spanish pools, we were not hopeful about the future of Ula at all.

Hr blog

10 August 2021 edit:

We have just learnt that Ula died barely a few hours ago at Loro Park. She will no longer bob about in the pools, be exploited or suffer.... At less than three years old, she leaves behind Morgan, her mother. Harmful to animals and to the people who go there, these places must be closed down!

Dr Gallego, a veterinarian specialising in marine mammals, analysed the behaviour and physical appearance of Ula and her mother Morgan at our request. It emerged from his assessment that Ula was in a state of extreme emaciation. At two and a half years old, she should be putting on weight rapidly and continuously. Instead, the little orca, born with a deformity to her left flipper, suffered a period of serious digestive illness which made even the park’s management team fear for her life.

A past marked by difficulties

Separated at birth from her mother, Ula was unable to be nursed by Morgan. And since this period of critical urgency in the spring, she has been isolated from the rest of the orcas. Our investigators could see that during the show, she was moved from one medical pool to another, no doubt so as not to mess up the stunts. In fact, when she did not stay still in the pool of the dolphinarium, she would spy hop to look into the other pool. The adults spent time at the entrance of her pool as if to keep in touch with her.

A frail health

According to our sources in the dolphinarium, she began to lose weight without losing her appetite, then she no longer ate anything. A feeding tube filled with very diluted fish purée had to be used because she was vomiting everything else she swallowed. She recently accepted food again by way of small fish every two hours, which made the keepers optimistic. But it was nowhere near enough for her to regain strength and weight.

For the veterinarian specialising in marine mammals, Ula “does not seem to be in total remission.” Of course she is better, but all the same her state is still devastating: you can see her ribs sticking out, which would never happen with an orca in good health. In the same way, you can make out the section between her head and the rest of her body, giving the first the shape of a peanut, a sign of a serious loss of subcutaneous fat, which is totally alarming. Furthermore, her dorsal fin is beginning to cave in, which indicates a lack of fat and muscle, and therefore exercise. This has a particular repercussion on her buoyancy: she has trouble returning to the surface to breathe.

An uncertain future

Ula remains in a critical condition even if the return of her appetite is good news. In any case, her and Morgan should not be confined in these pools. Besides, it should never have been possible, given the regulations in dolphinariums, for an orca like Morgan not born in captivity to give birth to a baby in a pool. A better future exists for the orcas of the dolphinarium – marine sanctuaries. Moreover, we are in the process of working to a solution of this kind for the French orcas with the greatest specialists on the matter. Morgan and Ula could perhaps benefit…if the little one survives in the meantime.

Translated from the French by Sophie Martin

Correction on November 17: withdraw of the mention of the dolfinarium's owner.

Julia Mothé
Hr blog

In the subject

The court prohibit Marineland from relocating the orcas before the end of the independent assessment Marineland: One Voice has obtained a temporary ban on moving the orcas - hearing on 16/01/2024

Comments 35

I accept that publication of my comments is subject to the code of conduct.

MARC | Monday 13 September 2021

Stop à l'exploitation des animaux pour un spectacle d'un autre âge.
Pensons à leur bien-être, ils ont droit au respect et au confort.

Vianney | Wednesday 11 August 2021

Vos craintes étaient donc fondées, Ula étant morte aujourd'hui. Paix à son âme.
Bravo pour votre travail, tous mes encouragements ! V-

MARC | Tuesday 10 August 2021

Stop animal objet, ils ont droit au bien être et au respect,
mettons fin a des pratiques d'un autre âge


Karine | Monday 19 July 2021

Les animaux ne doivent pas être captifs, leur place est dans un sanctuaire pour être en sécurité. Nul n'a le droit de s'approprier la vie d'autrui pour en tirer profit. Il est temps que la folie destructrice de certains cesse une fois pour toute. Merci à ONE VOICE de continuer à se battre pour leur liberté.