On the 12th March 2014 Alive Fitness & Natural Health was happy to announce one of our ever-popular charity Class-a-thons, in association with Whalefest and Bornfree. We were also very proud to be given the honour of symbolically carrying Morgan, a life-size inflatable replica Orca down onto Brighton Beach to release her into the sea.
Morgan is a wild Orca that is living still in captivity and performing for entertainment. Morgan was rescued off the coast of Holland very thin and weak. She was rehabilitated in a Dolphinarium and instead of being released back into her natural surroundings was flown to Loro Parque in Tenerife and there she remains. Here she performs tricks along with other Orcas on ‘loan’ from Seaworld in the USA.
Seaworld wants to use Morgan for their captive breeding program as she will be bringing fresh genes to a captive stock which has been inbred since the 1970’s.
Whalefest is the world biggest event of it’s kind and is a not-for-profit festival and The Bornfree Foundation is an international wildlife charity that works across the globe to protect animals and their habitat. Both strive to alleviate the suffering and neglect of individual wild animals in captivity and advocate the protection of animals in the wild, opposing their captivity.
The film Blackfish has brought a great deal of attention to the welfare of Killer Whales in captivity. Since it’s release, controversy has swirled around its portrayal of how Seaworld treats its captive Killer whales.
The fact that they spend their days swimming around in endless circles bored and frustrated, being taught tricks to please a noisy crowd, is a contradiction to their natural instincts.
Captive Killer Whales draw huge crowds and there is a price to pay for putting large sociable predators in small artificial environments.
Seven meters long and five tonnes in weight, travelling at over 30 miles an hour a single Killer Whale is a formidable foe and is the largest of the dolphins. However, they are also naturally sociable and live in familial pods led by a matriarch. Females reach maturity at 14 and have a calf around every 3 years. Both sexes usually remain with their families for life and the oldest recorded Orca is 103 years old.
Of the captive offspring that survive, they are always separated from their mothers after a few years. After the man, Orcas are the most widespread mammals on earth.
Orca like other Dolphins navigates their watery world using highly sophisticated sonar.
Clicks are made using nasal sacs in their forehead. The sonar information bounced back is received through fatty tissue in their jaw and transferred into their middle ear and brain.
The visual and auditory regions of their brain are so closely integrated that they can construct a visual image based solely on the echoes being received.
They are very intelligent and highly social organisms. They have specialised cells similar to our own, and MRI scans show that Orca has an enlarged limbic lobe – the part of the brain that deals with emotion and the formation of memories.
Research and observation of both wild and captive Orca show that they exhibit self-awareness and a range of emotions from joy, frustration, fear, and anger.
You can only imagine how they see their world using such a highly sophisticated technique. With such auditory creatures in tiny pools where their sonar is constantly reverberating around a tiny concrete pool, it is no surprise to see them exhibiting abnormal behaviour such as biting the concrete walls they’re enclosed in, raking and attacking one another.
The fun started at 10 am with Hake The Cycle with Joe & Jenny then at 11 am Turtle Body Blast with Tasha, 6 pm Baited Workout with Toby, 7 pm Break The Snorkel with Joe & Rich and last but not least at 8 pm we held Krillbells with Jenny & Matt. The idea was that you came to 1, 2 or all 5 classes!
A suggested donation is £4 per class with all proceeds going to the Born Free Foundation and Whalefest. Some guilty pleasures in the guise of Homemade cakes helped fuel the workouts and we had some great prizes for our raffle too.
One of the highlights of the day was having our very own Sue Burch playing hostess dressed in a fetching Orca costume! A great day was had by us all and £619.08 was raised for the event.
Over the last thirty years, Born Free has challenged the captive dolphin industry, helping to close Brighton’s dolphinarium in the early 1990s (the last in the UK), and in 2011, pioneered the rescue, rehabilitation and release of two ex-captive bottlenose dolphins into the Mediterranean. In their 30th Anniversary year, Born Free is an active member of the World Cetacean Alliance and campaigns for a Dolphinaria-Free Europe.