Learn about Lolita, an orca held captive in Miami.
On Aug. 8, 1970, an act of near terrorism occurred in the waters of Washington's Puget Sound. Frightened by speedboats, airplanes and explosives, a pod of unsuspecting orca whales was herded into and trapped inside Penn Cove. Once contained, 7 young female whales were separated from their families and sold to marine parks. At least 13 other orcas were killed during the process.
One of the abducted females was 3-year-old Tokitae. She was sold to the Miami Seaquarium, where her name was changed to "Lolita". Tragically, this enduring orca is the last survivor of the 45 members of the Southern Resident population captured and sold between 1965 - 1973. She has lived now for 37 years in the marine park industry's tiniest tank, performing tricks in exchange for fish. She's done her time as an entertainer, and she deserves to be free!
Many experts are optimistic that Lolita could be successfully released into the wild to rejoin her family in the waters of Puget Sound. She was old enough at the time of her capture to have been fluent in the language specific to her region, and experiments have proven that she still recognizes the calls of her pod members. Other re-introductions of missing orcas to their pods suggest that her family will accept and warmly welcome her back. Lolita is reasonably young, by orca lifespan estimations, and it is possible that she could still bear young to assist in the recovery of the endangered Southern Resident population. The numbers of these wild orcas have declined, in part, because of the vast number of fertile females captured in the past.
Campaigns are underway to facilitate Lolita's future release into the wild. Please pledge to help Lolita's cause by maintaining an awareness of her situation, and staying involved:
By joining this pledge, I make the commitment to read The Orca Network's web page dedicated to Lolita and the reasons why she can and should be returned to the wild. I will sign up for the "Free Lolita" list to receive updates on her campaign, and watch for ways that I can contribute to the cause. http://www.orcanetwork.org/captivity/captivity.html
For more information about Lolita, her story, the conditions at the Miami Seaquarium, and what YOU can do to help, please visit the following links:
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