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Did This Whale Try to Commit Suicide?

A whole lot of self-proclaimed animal experts say yes.

  • The latest drama in the world of animal rights is centered on Morgan, an orca kept in captivity at the Canary Islands' Loro Parque. The orca in question beached itself recently, in what people who know nothing about orca behavior are calling a "suicide attempt."

    Though the video of the orca beaching itself is at the least dramatic and at the most horrifying, depending on how emotional you get about suffering animals, it's impossible to know the orca's true motivations. The Independent reports that a Dutch theme park, Dolfinarium Harderwijk, "rescued" Morgan from the wild in an emaciated state in 2010. The next year, she was deemed "not suitable to be released" by a Dutch court, and transferred to Loro Parque, where she has remained. In other words, though captivity might be dangerous for this whale, she may not be able to survive in the wild.

    The simple fact is that, no matter how shocking the video is, we can't project human traits onto animals. Though there is a possibility that an orca possesses complex enough reasoning to devise, plan, and attempt suicide — hey, I saw Blackfish too, I know they're smart and have horrible lives — the possibility is small.

    Still, that hasn't stopped people from tweeting about it. The hashtag #FreeMorgan has gone viral in the wake of this incident, with animal rights activists around the world proclaiming that Morgan needs to be released immediately:

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  • What do you think? Is Morgan the orca trying to take matters into her own hands, or is this just a case of incomprehensible animal behavior? Let us know in the comments below or @WhatsTrending on Twitter!

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