Exclusive for zoos.media – 14.01.2019. Author: Philipp J. Kroiß
The „Deutsche Welle“ correspondent Michael Altenhenne has been disinforming about Loro Parque for some time. The article uncovers some important backgrounds.
Michael Altenhenne disinforms about Loro Parque
Its the second time that the „Deutsche Welle“ correspondent Michael Altenhenne disinforms about Loro Parque, Tenerife (Spain). He first brought a biased report about an accident with an orca and now yet another journalistic bankruptcy declaration. After lots of research we have been able to shine some light on the backgrounds.
Business relations to the anti-dolphinarium scene
Besides his work for the „Deutsche Welle“, Altenhenne also has the company „Visionloft“: “Visionloft offers the complete package, starting with creative filming and post-production concepts, to web streaming and online marketing. A one stop shop for affordable video solutions of the highest quality.” Some of the contributions on his portfolio, a report about the Elephant Conservation Centre in Laos for instance, also end up at the „Deutsche Welle“.
Altenhenne also produced a promotional video for Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures. The company is listed on Vimeo, as cooperation partner of Altenhenne and Visionloft. Andrew Jones, founder of the whale watching company and also president of the North Island Marine Mammal Stewardship Association (NIMMSA), was the protagonist of this short film. The association as well as the enterprise, are deeply intertwined with the Free Morgan Foundation. The NIMMSA director for instance, supports in a letter the cruel venture of a reintroduction. But Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures is also a partner of the anti-dolphinarium group World Cetacean Alliance (WCA), which closely cooperates with the Free Morgan Foundation when it comes to spreading lies about the keeping of orca Morgan, as in relation to the CITES permit, link here.
Its incomprehensible to us how someone, with verified business contacts to the anti-dolphinarium scene, is allowed to report, at public broadcasters, about their declared enemy. Isn´t it obvious how someone being or having been payed by dolphinarium opponents will report about dolphinariums? The „Deutsche Welle“ hasn´t done its credibility a favour with this, nor by dismissing such obvious business relations as irrelevant.
On top of that, for the latest article he apparently travelled with the mother of the deceased orca trainer, Mercedes Hernandez Dominguez, to Canada and took a trip there, precisely with Kingfisher Adventures. Hernandez should get to see “free” orcas – it was all quite pathetically orchestrated and a true melodrama to stir up the activists against dolphinariums. Hernandez likes appearing on the media in order to support the animal rights industry against Loro Parque. It seems she makes a good living out of it too, since a trip from Tenerife to Vancouver is not payed just like that, with a primary school teachers salary.
Altenhennes appearance at Loro Parque
A while back Michael Altenhenne contacted Loro Parque and showed his interest in a coverage. First he brought a biased report about the accidental death of the orca trainer Alexis Martinez, which seemed more like a portrait of the, by dolphinarium opponents already often pocketed, mother of the tragically deceased trainer. But unlike her son, it seems she has no notion of the keeping of these animals and was unaware of the risks associated to working with them.
He interviewed Mr. Kiessling, which he shows in extracts of the video reports that appear on both videos, but experts at Loro Parque do not get nearly as much screen time as the activist. Later, Altenehenne, like other journalists, went to the press conference where the Humane Certificate was awarded. He had previously filmed the dolphin show. During an interview with the accredited expert Robin Ganzert, he stood out more than negatively which lead to the Park pointing out to him that no more discourse was needed.
Afterwards the „Deutsche Welle“ correspondent kept annoying with emails in which, amongst other things, he requested the confirmation of completely false quotes. He wanted to accuse the zoological director at the time, Wolfgang Rades, of calling the french minister “crazy”, when all he did was describing her sudden decision as irrational. By transforming further statements he tried to put the expert in a bad light. Because of the journalists dubious way of working it was suggested he not come back to Loro Parque.
Loro Parque and sceptical journalists
Loro Parque offers sceptical journalists a visit. Zoos.media always brought along sceptical journalists on the trips to the park, who were granted – just like any other journalist too – a view behind the scenes. The park is transparent and shows the animals husbandry.
Unfortunately you also come across journalists who negatively report about Loro Parque and other zoos, due to their preconceived opinion. They are determined from the beginning and no matter how many facts you show them, they will shape their articles the way they planned and ignore them. This is intensified with Altenhenne because of his business contacts to the anti-dolphinarium scene, which he uses for his journalistic work.
Journalists like Altenhenne are, in our opinion, a problem for all journalists because their actions strengthen the populist phrases brought up, often wrongly, against zoos. Such dubious representatives are very harmful, especially in a time where the press struggles for credibility. That´s why detailed research is necessary, to know who is behind a report, like Altenhenne´s.