Motorcycle aficionados have a deep appreciation for what they experience while on the open road: fresh air, travel, community, and freedom. Those strong feelings make it easy for many bikers to relate to the plight of orcas in captivity. Orcas in the wild (fresh air/open waters) are free to roam (travel) with their pod (community) to wherever they please (freedom). With those parallels in mind, a new activist group is trying to band together bikers from across the globe to advocate for the freedom of these magnificent whales.
Vincent Lensen, a motorcyclist and father living near Amsterdam, has always been taken by orca whales. He recalls a moment when he was a child and caught his first glimpse of an orca whale at a marine park in Holland and became instantly “mesmerized.” Fast forward to Lensen as a dad, taking his children to a similar park for a similar experience.
“I decided it would be educational for my kids to see such a beautiful creature, so we went,” Lensen explains. The park was packed that day and the orca on display, named Morgan, was far back in the tank, almost hiding from the crowds. Lensen said when he and his family stepped up to see Morgan, she came up to the side of the tank and looked at him, but Lensen’s feelings from that experience were different from the one of his youth. ”Something in her look broke my heart. She looked sad, and I felt really bad for her.”
Soon after that experience, Lensen learned more about the suffering that orcas in captivity endure and realized that they’re far better off in the wild with their families. He felt compelled to do something to help. “I wanted to do… something new, something that may help to get these animals out of those parks. For a long time I kept wondering and asking myself, ‘What can I do?’ Well, I could ride a motorbike! That is basically how it all started.”
Enter Bikers 4 Orcas. Lensen’s group is uniting motorcyclists from around the world to help bring freedom to orcas in parks and used for entertainment. The group plans to have organized rides that bring attention to their cause and leafletting actions at marine parks. Lensen hopes to organize “a massive worldwide protest ride, where all bikers supporting us join up in each country and drive for charity on the same day. It would be amazing to turn on the TV and watch groups of bikers all doing the same thing at the same time. I think it will wake up some marine parks and politicians.” In order to reach that ultimate goal, Bikers 4 Orcas is working hard on promoting its group and cause. Their Facebook page has recently passed the 2,000 mark and they’re eagerly watching those numbers rise.
The organization is seeking a “pod leader” and a head of promotion for each country, ”someone willing to promote our group to clubs, media, online and anywhere else.” If you or someone you know may be interested, contact the group. And anyone anywhere can support the group’s mission and keep up with their progress via their Facebook page.
Photo credit: Bikers 4 Orcas Facebook page