Dear Loro Parque Tenerife,
I’m having a fantastic week in Puerto de la Cruz, on the beautiful island of Tenerife. I’m here with my partner, and we are making the most of it. So far, we have visited the botanical gardens, Tiede, Masca and Icod. However, I regret to inform you that I am choosing not to visit Loro Parque this summer. I’d like to explain why.
Care and Breeding Programmes at Loro Park
From what I have heard from the locals, and read in magazines, it comes across to me that the staff at Loro Parque care a great deal for the animals in their care. I understand that there are many successful conservation programmes run by Loro Parque, such as the Parrot breeding programme. It’s a number 1 attraction in Tenerife according to TripAdvisor.
Now let me be honest, I enjoy seeing wildlife and love to learn about animals. I’m no scientist or conservationist. Yet, I understand that on some occasions, although it is not desirable, there may be times when a certain species needs to be bred in captivity to avoid extinction.
My Views on Visiting Animals in Captivity
I prefer to see animals in their natural habitat as an eco-tourist where and when this is possible. However, when I do visit animals kept in captivity, I like to read and research parks and zoos before I visit.
I recently made a trip to Flamingo Land in Yorkshire (after much research), and was pleased to see that there was plenty of space for the animals and excellent conservation projects going on. Flamingo Land got rid of their Dolphinarium in 1993 as it was seen to be too small to house them. The only sea mammals that are now kept at this park are Californian Sealions, which are a breed that are at risk of extinction and do particularly well in the wild.
Why I Decided NOT to Visit Loro Parque this Summer
This brings me on to my reasons for choosing not to visit Loro Parque this summer. I know that Orca ‘Wales’ are kept in Captivity at the park, and are used for tricks and performances. Having recently read a lot about animal species that are suitable for being kept in captivity and those that are not, the overwhelming scientific view is that Orcas do not do well in captivity.
Reaching out to my Facebook Community about Loro Parque Tenerife
First of all, I reached out to my Facebook friends, to get more views on this issue, before finally making my decision…
My Facebook friends, many of whom are worldly and educated (some even in animal welfare positions and conservation), came back to me with a majority ‘don’t go’ vote. Their Facebook identities have been protected for privacy purposes…
I have now started to watch the documentary ‘Black Fish’ as suggested by my cousin. Orca Wales (actually a member of the dolphin family) are not only too large to keep in captivity, but they are also extremely intelligent and social animals. Holding Orcas in captivity is not good for their physical or mental health and can isolate them from their social circles.
Other comments on my Facebook page supported my views – if I pay to go to Loro Parque, I am directly financially supporting the Orcas in captivity, which I don’t want to do. Some of my Facebook friends had direct negative experiences of Loro Parque. Some are completely against keeping any wild animals in captivity altogether.
While I wouldn’t go as far as refusing to see animals in captivity without checking the facts first, I believe that you have to draw the line somewhere. This is over the line, Loro Parque, way over the line.
I’m not Visiting Loro Parque Tenerife
I’ve made my decision not to visit Loro Parque Tenerife, and my partner is supportive of this too. At least this way, I can change my mind and decide to return at a later date. If I go, this may be something I regret. I want to be an advocate of eco tourism, and I would prefer the first time I see Orcas to be in the wild, in their ‘happy place!’
Loro Parque, I hope that you take my views on board. I also hope that someday, when Orca’s and dolphins are not kept in captivity, and the ultimate aim is conservation, I hope that I will reconsider my decision.
For further information about Orca’s in captivity, see the following links…
WDC – http://us.whales.org/wdc-in-action/fate-of-captive-orcas
BBC – http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-36045576
One Green Planet http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/orcas-killer-whales-captivity/
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If you’re heading to Spain in summer, don’t forget the essentials for the beach including swimwear, sun cream and a beach towel. Also pack your sunglasses or prescription sunglasses if you usually wear glasses on a daily basis.
For footwear, pack a pair of flip flops for the beach and then also a pair of walking boots for any hiking that you might do. Add a pair of dress shoes into the mix if you are in a fancy hotel, but they are not necessary otherwise.
The best clothes to pack for Spanish islands include T-shirts, shorts and comfy dresses. One pair of jeans wouldn’t go amiss.
If you would like to know more about Tenerife, you might also like to read…
Puerto de la Cruz Street Art that will blow your Mind
Loro Parque – Why I am Choosing not to visit this Summer