44 Reasons to #FreeLolita -1 For Every Year She Has Been Held Captive in North America’s Smallest Orca Tank

In the Miami Seaquarium lives an Orca name Lolita.  Once upon a time she swam free in Puget Sound, Washington.  She was captured and sold to Miami Seaquarium and has been there ever since. This August will be her 44th year in captivity.  She is living in the smallest Orca tank in North America with no other Orca for company.  This is enough.  This is enough to say enough.

But there is more.  Lolita’s pod still exists.  There is a well thought out release plan that would at the very least allow her to return to her birth waters and could progress to her eventually rejoining the pod.  But how can we make this happen and why.

As travelers we make choices about what we support by where we go.  When we buy tickets to establishments, we are basically voting with our dollars.  I have put together this list of 44 reasons why Lolita should be freed.  I hope that if they speak to you, that you will support the movement to free Lolita, tweet and share messages to bring attention to Lolita’s plight and that you will not buy a ticket to the Miami Seaquarium or any other establishment, including Sea World that supports the captivity of Orcas.

After the list are a number of action steps that you can do to start helping today.

44 Reasons to #FreeLolita

  1. It is wrong to keep Orcas in captivity
  2. Lolita lives her life in the smallest tank in North America. Her tank is as deep as she is long. She cannot dive. Its 20′ at its deepest point.
  3. There is no tank large enough.
  4. Her probable mother is still alive (select l-pod – she is l-25 Ocean Sun) & there is a possibility they could be reunited
  5. She has a beautiful spirit even after all these years of captivity
  6. She was kidnapped from Puget Sound Washington
  7. She is not anyone’s property
  8. In the wild orcas spend their entire lives with their mother and family (sometimes even great grandmothers) Captivity has stolen that bond from Lolita.
  9. She still recognizes her families calls – when Lolita was played a recording of her family’s calls she returned the distinct dialect of her family’s calls
  10. It’s morally wrong to hold an Orca captive
  11. Lolita has no protection from sun or tropical storms which violates Section 3.103(3)(b) of the Animal Welfare Act.
  12. A well thought out plan has been made for her return to  the waters of her birth
  13. Lolita is the only remaining survivor of the 40+ members of her community who were captured in Puget Sound. She can not die without ever knowing the feel of the Ocean again.
  14. Humans can ‘appreciate’ Orcas (more) in the wild.  We do not need to see them in cages.
  15. To make matters worse, Orcas in captivity typically die earlier then Orcas in the wild
  16. Captivity creates dangerous situations that do not occur in the wild
  17. Capturing wild Orcas is wrong.  Lolita was wild when captured and by keeping her in captivity we are basically giving our stamp of approval on this initial act.
  18. Lolita has been without any other Orca for over 30 years since her tank mate Hugo died after repeatedly smashing his head into the wall
  19. Exploiting another being for your own profit is unacceptable.
  20. In the wild orcas swim nearly 100 miles per day -In a typical tank Orcas would have to swim over 1400 laps a day and Lolita’s tank is not even typical.
  21. Lolita’s pod is protected under the endangered species actshouldn’t Lolita be? and now Lolita is also – why isn’t she truly protected from “harm and harassment”?
  22. Lolita is a sentient and sapient
  23. We should protect what is wild
  24. She is a “highly vocal and complex communicators are forced to live in a low-sensory environment, which is unable to fully meet the needs of …” her “…physical and emotional worlds.” (Jane Godall – speaking about captive Beluga’s but pertinent here)
  25. Lolita has a right to freedom
  26. She will be happier.
  27. Orcas have a culture
  28. Orcas respect us – even in captivity they show great restraint and in the wild they have shown great curiosity.  Shouldn’t we respect them?
  29. We do not learn about Orca’s natural behaviors when they are held captive only their imprisoned ones – it’s a type of mis-education.
  30. She is unable to act on her own behalf.
  31. Captive Orcas show similar behavioral patterns to captive humans  What looks like cooperation is not always that simple.
  32. The Miami Seaquarium receives an annual license to operate despite Animal Welfare Act violations. A lawsuit against the USDA for issuing the license to an unlawful facility was dismissed on the procedural grounds that the inspectors have the discretion to ignore the regulations.  Our laws must mean something.
  33. Lolita was born free.
  34. “There is no significant risk to Lolita in any stage of Orca Network’s proposal for Lolita’s retirement in her native waters.”
  35. Hundreds of thousands of people many different people from all over the world want this to happen.
  36. Lolita’s pool does not meet the perimeter fence requirements to keep animals and unauthorized people out, nor does it protect her from abuse and harassment by the public. (Sections 3.103(3)(c) and 3.101(2))
  37. “Remaining in captivity is likely to lead to real harm to Lolita”
  38. Lolita’s tank is 13 feet shorter than is required by the Animal Welfare Act (Section 3.104).
  39. It’s possible we could learn more about about Orcas communication patterns if Lolita is released & communicates with her pod
  40. She has given so much of her life to us. We owe her this.
  41. She is a nearly ideal match to the Navy criteria of attributes for a candidate for a reintroduction program.
  42. Lolitas’ Chinook name (prior to being captured) was Tokitae  meaning nice day, pretty colors – freedom would let her understand the meaning of those words.
  43. It’s a beautiful dream
  44. Wouldn’t you want someone to help you?

How You Can Help Lolita NOW

  1. Tweet for Lolita & share
  2. Learn more about Lolita’s plight
  3. Don’t buy a ticket to the Miami Seaquarium or any establishment that supports Orca captivity like SeaWorld
  4. Write a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service asking them to reconsider Lolita’s captivity at Miami Seaquarium. You can find the contact details and a sample letter here
  5. Send a letter to the owners of the seaquarium and ask them to release Lolita. Either post a letter to :Fernando Eiroa
    Palace Entertainment
    4590 MacArthur Blvd., Suite 400
    Newport Beach, CA 92660Or send an email to feiroa@palaceentertainment.com
  6. Send Letters to USDA & APHIS:Send a message to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). These U.S. regulatory agencies have oversight of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) which Miami Seaquarium is violating. Pre-written letters can be sent by visiting the Orca Network’s page “How to Fight for Lolita’s Retirement”.

Steps 4, 5 & 6 found in this wonderful article

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