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.
Eighty orcas were corralled into sea pens, and seven were kidnapped from their ocean home and sold to marine parks as mere commodities.
For only $6,000, Lolita was sold to the Miami Seaquarium to be confined for human “entertainment.”
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.
New aerial photography shows Lolita in her cramped tank.
The tank has no shelter for Lolita to escape from the blistering Miami sun. Orcas who are confined to tanks that have crystal-clear water and little shade often experience painful sunburns and blistering.
With no mental, physical, or emotional stimulation, Lolita spends her days floating sluggishly. 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.
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:
Or floating listlessly:
She is not ours to stand on …
… to pose on top of …
… to ride …
… to force to perform …
… to confine as a prisoner …
But there is hope that Lolita’s time spent enslaved at the Miami Seaquarium could come to an end.
Her family, the Southern Resident orca population, is classified as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and the National Marine Fisheries Service has finally agreed that Lolita should also be included in the (ESA) listing. PETA, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Orca Network, and two concerned individuals believe that confining Lolita to a small, shallow, and barren concrete tank—where she has been alone, unable to dive, forage, or carry out any natural behavior–violates the ESA, and have announced they intend to sue the Miami Seaquarium on behalf of Lolita and they are seeking her freedom from the facility. PETA is pushing for Lolita to be released from the Miami Seaquarium and returned to her home waters in a coastal sanctuary!
We’ll keep you posted on what happens! While you’re waiting for updates on Lolita’s story, tell Palace Entertainment (Miami Seaquarium’s owner) to give Lolita her freedom and immediately release her to a coastal sanctuary that can provide her with a more natural environment.