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This is Lolita. She is 20 feet long and weighs 7,000 pounds.

At only 4 years old, she was torn away from her family and ocean home during the largest capture of wild orcas in history.

0157400-R1-E014©Terrell C. Newby, Ph.D.

Eighty orcas were corralled into sea pens, and seven were kidnapped from their ocean home and sold to marine parks as mere commodities.

slide_07©Terrell C. Newby, Ph.D.
For only $6,000, Lolita was sold to the Miami Seaquarium to be confined for human “entertainment.”

slide_10©Terrell C. Newby, Ph.D.

She is the sole survivor of the horrifying capture and has spent the past 44 years in the tiniest orca tank in the United States—a tank that also violates the Animal Welfare Act’s minimum size requirements.

In addition, the tank has has no shelter  for Lolita to find reprieve from the blistering Miami sun. Orcas who are confined to tanks that have crystal-clear water and little to no shade often experience painful sunburns and blistering.

Orcas in captivity are sometimes covered with black zinc oxide to prevent sunburn, but the substance has reportedly also been used to cover up painful blisters on the skin of orcas who have already been sunburned.

With no mental, physical, or emotional stimulation, Lolita spends her days floating listlessly. She currently shares her tiny tank with a few dolphins but has no orca companions. Her former orca tankmate, Hugo, committed suicide after repeatedly smashing his head into the walls of the tank.

Repetitive harmful behavior is common, such as this orca banging his head on a landing platform at SeaWorld. Repetitive harmful behavior is common, such as this orca banging his head on a landing platform at SeaWorld.

Held in a small barren tank with virtually no opportunity to engage in any natural behavior, Lolita exhibits abnormal repetitive behavior, such as bobbing her head:

lolita-abnormal-behavior

Or floating listlessly:

lolita-idling

Haven’t humans done enough to profit off Lolita in the past 44 years?

She is not ours to stand on …

… to pose on top of …

… to ride …

… to force to perform jumps and back flips …

… to confine as a prisoner …

Lolita the orca looking bored in her tiny pool at the Miami Seaquarium.

But Lolita’s time spent enslaved at the Miami Seaquarium is hopefully coming to an end.

Her family, the Southern Resident orca population, has been classified as endangered, and the government has agreed with PETA and the Animal Legal Defense Fund that Lolita should be included in her family’s Endangered Species Act listing and receive the same protection from harm. This inclusion would open the door for her release from the Miami Seaquarium and her return to her home waters.

With your help, she can be released … spread the word!

 

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