|Morgan displaying beaching play behaviour|
Animal-rights groups always want to put a very negative interpretation on any of these activities animals display. It is always considered that the animal is displaying some kind of suffering. However, the animal behaviourist Dr Martha Kiley-Worthington, made a very valid point that whilst animals can display signs of “suffering” they can also display signs of “joy”.
Recently the media have been feverishly displaying video of the behaviour of the young killer whale Morgan at the Spanish zoological collection Loro Parque at Puerto de la Cruz on Tenerife, Spain. Video footage shows the animal beaching itself on the platform surrounding its pool. Various animal-rights groups – who are opposed to animals being maintained in zoological collections – immediately made claims that the animal was distressed and suggested this might be a suicide attempt. However, closer investigation reveals that this is in point of fact play behaviour by this animal that she has displayed for quite some time and is not, as claimed, abnormal or a sign of self harm.