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On Tuesday, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine presented a resolution to the City Commission of Miami Beach calling on the Miami Seaquarium to release the orca Lolita. The resolution came after the marine park left her unprotected in her tank during Hurricane Irma, once again completely failing to ensure her safety and well-being. Late last week, Levine took to Instagram to share the good news—in a unanimous vote, the resolution passed.

UPDATE: ‪Miami Beach vote is unanimous! Now sending a letter for all Florida mayors to sign, urging @miamiseaquarium_ to finally #FreeLolita from her small, unsafe prison‬. . #orcanetwork #blackfish @miamibeachnews

A post shared by Mayor Philip Levine (@mayorlevine) on

Levine plans to send the resolution to every mayor in Florida, asking them to sign a letter to the Miami Seaquarium calling for Lolita’s release. He’s been fighting for her freedom for years, noting that “Miami should be known as the beautiful, modern city that it is—not as the home of the smallest orca tank in North America.”

Lolita’s story is a tragic and heartbreaking one, and we couldn’t be more thrilled that Levine’s resolution has passed. At only 4 years old, she was torn away from her family and ocean home during the largest capture of wild orcas in history. For only $6,000, Lolita was sold to the Miami Seaquarium to be confined for human entertainment. Now, she’s the sole survivor of the horrifying capture and has spent the past 45 years in the world’s tiniest orca tank—which also violates the federal Animal Welfare Act’s minimum size requirements. She’s been deprived of companionship and socialization. Although she originally shared her tank with a male orca named Hugo, she lost her tankmate in 1980, after he killed himself by repeatedly smashing his head into the walls of the tank.

Levine isn’t the only “Team Lolita” member. Just last week, EDM superstar Steve Aoki hit the stage at Miami Beach’s STORY Nightclub wearing a custom PETA T-shirt proclaiming, “Free Lolita”:

LOVE seeing @SteveAoki make a big statement on stage in #Miami ✊ It’s time for @MiamiSeaquarium_ to listen up and #FreeLolita! Tap link in profile to learn her story and help speak up for her: peta.vg/lolitahelp Photo credit: Erik Voake

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To pay tribute to the orca, artists Shalak Attack and Bruno Smoky painted an 83.5-foot-wide mural called “Free Lolita” on the side of a building owned by Mayor Levine:

Lolita was captured from the wild 47 years ago TODAY—and she hasn’t seen another orca for decades. She lives in the smallest orca tank in the US at the #MiamiSeaquarium  Remembering this beautiful mural, painted by artists Shalak Attack and Bruno Smoky to honor her during Miami Art Week 2015  #FreeLolita

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And of course, for years, PETA has been demanding that she be released into a seaside sanctuary:

PETA supporters took over the #MiamiSeaquarium to demand that Lolita, who’s been held prisoner there for 47 years, be released to a seaside sanctuary ❤

A post shared by Official PETA (@peta) on

Levine, Aoki, PETA, and so many others refuse to rest until Lolita is freed from the tiniest orca tank in the world. You can join Team Lolita, too.

Help Retire Lolita to a Seaside Sanctuary

You can help free Lolita and other captive orcas by urging the parent company of Miami Seaquarium to retire those imprisoned at its parks to a seaside sanctuary, where they could feel waves, hear wild pods, and finally experience some semblance of a natural life. Click the button below to join the call for Lolita’s release into a coastal sanctuary today:

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