In recent weeks we have witnessed different requests made to Loro Parque about the orcas, from various organizations that claim to defend the rights of animals. These requests are not based on evidence but are based on assumptions about the lack of animal welfare that have never been verified. The case of the Great Ape Project Spain organization is even more embarrassing, because their accusations have been proven false on several occasions.
In May 2010 D. Pedro Pozas Terrados, as Executive director of the Great Ape Project, presented to the SEPRONA headquarters in Madrid a complaint against Loro Parque for violating the Law of Zoos by keeping dolphins and orcas in captivity. In the complaint, Mr. Pozas said that Loro Parque “Infringes entirely scientific purposes of zoos and the Law of Zoos” and “the abuse, neglect or deterioration, intentional or negligent, of the animals in the zoo.” After the mandatory inspection of facilities, the team of SEPRONA agents found that none of these statements was true, and that the complaint was unfounded. As a result of the lack of veracity of the complaint the Nature Protection Service of the Civil Guard did not open any proceedings arising from the complaint. However, when the legal services of Loro Parque tried to contact the Great Ape Project through a Burofax to sue for false accusation, no one received the communication. It seems that either the Great Ape Project organization does not have a registered office or the executive director accepts no official communications.
Again in 2011 D. Pedro Pozas Terrados representing the Great Ape Project Spain submitted an official request to the Committee on Petitions of the European Parliament for an alleged breach of the European Zoos Directive on the transfer of the orca Morgan to Loro Parque. The Great Ape Project published the full text of the petition on its website, and made a statement to the press in which it made public the serious damage that the health of Morgan would suffer by being held in Loro Parque. In May 2012 the Committee on Petitions of the Parliament ruled on the petition and informed the Great Ape Project, after consultations with experts from the European Commission, that the transfer of Morgan was verified as having been done legally and strictly following European regulations. However, the Great Ape Project never made public the Parliament’s response to its request, and much less did it publicly announce that its arguments had not been considered. Meanwhile predictions of serious damage to the health of Morgan have also been proven to be totally wrong, Morgan is now fully integrated into the group of orcas in Loro Parque, her health is excellent and she weighs over 2,000 kilos.
In September 2013 Great Ape Project launched a public campaign to prevent the gorilla Leon from being transferred to the zoo of Belo Horizonte in Brazil to form a family group with two females. The transfer was made on the recommendation of the head of the Endangered Species Programme of the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums, within a global project that seeks to establish a population under human care that allows for the saving of the species in the future. Despite the catastrophic image that the Great Ape Project endeavored to disclose in the media about the Brazilian zoo, and report a number of potential risks involved in the transfer, the fact is that it was a success. Leon is part of a healthy family unit and in 2014 the first baby from him was born. The Great Ape Project never corrected its campaign to discredit, nor recognized its error.
This brief analysis of campaigns that the Great Ape Project has made against Loro Parque in the past clearly shows that this organization moves only with a clear anti-zoo objective, and takes every opportunity to get media coverage. In each and every one of the occasions that the Great Ape Project has publicly denounced or criticized Loro Parque it has been shown that such criticisms and complaints were unfounded. Despite this, the Great Ape Project has never recognized its mistakes nor rectified its false accusations.
In conclusion it would be important to reflect on some organizations like the Great Ape Project, whose sole activity is to constantly attack zoos. In the last 22 years, thanks to the work of a zoo internationally recognized for its quality such as Loro Parque, has been possible to invest more than 16 million dollars in the conservation of endangered species on our planet. The most important success of this work was to save two parrot species from being critically endangered, and to help many others to increase their small populations and not disappear forever. What are the achievements of the Great Ape Project Spain in the conservation of biodiversity? How much money has it invested in the conservation of the most endangered species? How many species have been saved? The terrible paradox is that not only has it not helped to preserve nature, but it aims to destroy those who save species from extinction. How then can they call themselves animal lovers?