Will Miami Seaquarium's New Owners Free Lolita the Orca?

Categories: Animals

miami_seaquarium_lolita_orca_credit_leonardo_dasilva_flickr.jpg
Leonardo DaSilva/Flickr
At nearly 20 feet long and 7,000 pounds, Lolita the killer whale is a big lass. But despite her hefty girth, she's spent more than 40 years in a 60-by-80-foot tank at Miami Seaquarium -- the human equivalent, animal advocates say, of living in a port-a-potty.

A battle between the Seaquarium and groups such as PETA has been raging over Lolita for decades. But the recent news that the Virginia Key attraction would be sold to California-based amusement park company Palace Entertainment has spurred animal advocates to push harder than ever to get her back into the wild.

See also: Feds Take Possible First Step Toward Freeing Lolita, Miami Seaquarium's Orca

Protests about Lolita's living conditions are nothing new. Animal advocates have often greeted drivers on the Rickenbacker Causeway in an attempt to steer patrons away from the park, but to little avail. Even socialites have gotten in on the action. The Real Housewives of Miami star Adriana de Moura stripped down for a PETA ad targeting the Seaquarium last year.

Still, the Seaquarium has made no attempt to move the whale, and its representatives have maintained that the facility is the only home Lolita has ever known -- and that she's well cared for.

See also: The Cove's Ric O'Barry on Boycotting Miami Seaquarium, Dolphin Slaughter, and How Rock and Roll Can Save the World

But Lolita's tank remains the smallest in North America for an animal her size. In the wild, orcas swim nearly 100 miles per day. Lolita was even the subject of an award-winning documentary, Lolita: Slave to Entertainment.

As concern grows among the general public that keeping orcas in captivity is inhumane and dangerous -- thanks to the documentary Blackfish and other efforts by animal advocates -- groups such as PETA and ARFF are putting added pressure on the Seaquarium's new owners.

Palace Entertainment has not responded to Cultist's request for comment on this issue.

PETA says they've been in touch but haven't received a response either.

"We haven't heard any response from them yet, and we have reached out to them individually and privately," says Jared Goodman, PETA Foundation's director of animal law. "We hope they're going to see this as we presented it, which is offering them a way to start out with good public relations and avoid the controversy, public demonstrations, and all that comes with buying the Miami Seaquarium."

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Miami Seaquarium

4400 Rickenbacker Causeway, Key Biscayne, FL

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124 comments
migsly
migsly

"its representatives have maintained that the facility is the only home Lolita has ever known -- and that she's well cared for."


LIE on both counts. She knew the ocean up until age 6. She is not well cared for. An orca swims 100 miles a day. She can't.

Ana Campos
Ana Campos

Since all of you are not Marine Mammal Scientists or Experts, I'll refer you to watch this new interview about Lolita and her fate which aired last night. It is by far one of the most well done, educational and heart touching, 6 minutes you'll see on the subject. There should be a Mother and Daughter reunion. This animal is not a surfboard. I don't see how anyone can think it is OK for any animal to perform tricks for tourists for 44 years every day. Just like we deserve it, Lolita deserves to be retired. http://www.komonews.com/news/local/New-twists-in-battle-over-Lolita-give-activists-new-hope-260159721.html

AnaCampos
AnaCampos

Since all of you are not Marine Mammal Scientists or Experts, I'll refer you to watch this new interview about Lolita and her fate which aired last night. It is by far one of the most well done, educational and heart touching, 6 minutes you'll see on the subject. There should be a Mother and Daughter reunion. This animal is not a surfboard.


I don't see how anyone can think it is OK for any animal to perform tricks for tourists for 44 years every day. Just like we deserve it, Lolita deserves to be retired.


http://www.komonews.com/news/local/New-twists-in-battle-over-Lolita-give-activists-new-hope-260159721.html

m.delvalle1
m.delvalle1

All you hippies have is ONE documentary? Not one paper that says they've done this before and succeeded....so you want to take an animal out of its pen....which is stressful as is...then you want to stress it even more by dumping it in a different environment...then expect it not to do tricks???? What is wrong with you hippies? Please someone send me a link to a case where a trained orca for shows was released and successfully lived out its life???? YOU CANT GIVE ME ONE!!!!! Why???? Because once an animal is hand fed and trained to do shows it will remain doing so...come on people, I know Miami dade has some of the dumbest people in the nation but shit....

hmoore123
hmoore123

ALL orcas should be free. If you watch Blackfish, you’ll see just how cruel and dangerous it is to keep orcas in captivity. Whales, dolphins, sea lines, and other marine mammals belong in their ocean homes—not in chlorinated bathtubs performing silly, unnatural tricks for tourists.

Mency Acosta
Mency Acosta

View from a helicopter ride I did over Lolita. She was not moving poor girl is swimming in a bathtub.

Michael del Vice
Michael del Vice

Please don't post an article from a website with a gift shop. These are not reputable sources...

Michael del Vice
Michael del Vice

And please...next time you cite a article make sure they don't have an online gift shop....try to find an article from the respected journal called "nature."

Michael del Vice
Michael del Vice

Diana your link cites ONE article from 1998....come on this isn't science. Where's the proof???? How many successful releases have we seen? Not many if you're link is citing one paper from 1998. (Garett).... you are passing along crappy info.

Michael del Vice
Michael del Vice

Keiko could not hunt, she was fed by a guide boat until she flat out died.

Michael del Vice
Michael del Vice

Keiko would swim up and down the coast along side a guide boat with someone she recognized in hopes to get her to hunt....it didn't work, she sought out human interaction. Fisherman were freaking out as this killer whale was approaching them for food. You idiot, you've trained an animal with a fucking whistle to jump around and carry people...how will she not continue to seek out human interaction....oh because now she's in the wild so she's wild now, no more training right? She forgot it? They're very intelligent but when you hand feed a fucking animal everyday it tends to expect that....

Michael del Vice
Michael del Vice

I'm sorry Diana....what school did you go to again???? Keiko died of starvation....and the first time the whale saw a wild pod she was horrified and frightened. Please cite a better journal.

Michael del Vice
Michael del Vice

Coastal sea pen? Another idiot. Please read about keiko in New Zealand

Diana Andrew-Lozano
Diana Andrew-Lozano

Alex Anico. I believe the plan for Lolita is to be moved to a coastal sea pen where she would be gradually taught to catch her own food, have proper care etc.... the plan has never been to just drop her in the ocean. ???

Michael del Vice
Michael del Vice

YOU CANT RELEASE a HAND FED ANIMAL!!!! Wtf new times???? Read about keiko the killer whale. She died from starvation...what do you prefer a well fed animal that can live for 5 years or one that will be released and die months later. The Miami new times needs a bit of help in the marine bio department. Please don't post these headlines again, you sound really really ignorant.

Alex Anico
Alex Anico

at this point i want to see these orcas freed just so when they get run over by a cruise ship or die from starvation people might open their eyes and realize that animals bred and kept in captivity over a long period cant be released into the wild. this mammal has a small apt and gets a check in the form of fish for doing it's job. dropping it in the ocean is the equivalent of taking you away from your 9-5 and dropping you in the middle of the amazon except you didnt get to see the bear grylls' show that tells you how to survive in the amazon. And dont say or think that nah youd make it cause youre not Tom Hanks in Cast Away. The minute you land youd get stung by a mosquito and die of malaria...

Alex Rosales
Alex Rosales

They're not bringing changes, Andrea Nuñez.

Anthonyvop1
Anthonyvop1 topcommenter

I have the solution.


All of you silly tree-huggers should raise money and buy Lolita from her owners.  


There.......Problem solved.

Anthonyvop1
Anthonyvop1 topcommenter

And out comes the internet biologist who know nothing about how the animal kingdom actually works but are quick to push human emotions and morality on to an animal.



Exiliado
Exiliado

It is ridiculous to suggest that somebody should buy a business like the Seaquarium only to get rid of its main attraction.



stkittchick1
stkittchick1

PETA and ALDF want Lolita to be released into a seaside sanctuary that is waiting for her in her home waters and, if possible, back into her family pod. In the wild, Southern Resident orcas often spend their entire lives with their mothers. Lolita recognized her pod's calls decades after being captured, and her mother is still thriving at more than 80 years of age.

Remember, the single most direct action you can take to help animals like Lolita and those at SeaWorld is to never buy a ticket to any zoo, aquarium or other animal display.As long as people spend money, these exhibits will continue to operate and animals will continue to live and die in misery.It’s that simple.

Please spread the word, especially to family and friends with small children who are likely to visit these kinds of displays.Implore them not to do so.Point out that visiting zoos and aquariums is teaching their kids that cruelty is “ok.”Post on social networking sites and post comments on Google, Yelp!, TripAdvisor and your Facebook page.

LucyP
LucyP

No animal deserves to spend her life locked up in a tiny enclosure, far from her family, and deprived of all that is natural and enjoyable. The end is near for cruel and antiquated marine mammal “abusement” parks. It’s time to release Lolita and all captive orcas to protected sea sanctuaries to live the rest of their lives in peace.

Exiliado
Exiliado

Only two questions:



Did anyone ask Lolita if she wants to be freed?


What did she say?

Exiliado
Exiliado

 You can't be serious, Anita. Are you?

You have to be joking!!


First, YOU are NOT a "Marine Mammal Scientist or Expert," are you?

Second, will you admit that there are REAL "Marine Mammal Scientists or Experts" currently working at Miami Seaquarium? Will you?


Now, on to your video.

Did you understand it?

Let me point a detail to you:


They don't even know if Lolita's mother is still alive!

It's in your video!


And yes, there's a lot of us non-hysterical human beings who think Lolita should remain where she is. 

And we are backing up our opinion with our cold-hard cash at the ticket window. Are you willing to put your money where your mouth is? 


dboggs11
dboggs11

@m.delvalle1 I am not from Dade COUNTY AND I could care less about stupid people like you that live there! But I do care for Lolita and how she feels! Let's put you in a closet feed you when we want to and make you do tricks. Oh and make sure you don't have anyone you can communicate with like your family!  I feel Lolita has earned her freedom and they will take good care of her in the Sea pen in Washington back to the native ocean waters from which they took her from!She would be better off then in Human Captivity I'd rather see her pass there then in the bathtub they have her in .Maybe you would like to  take her spot! Debra Boggs


AnaCampos
AnaCampos

@m.delvalle1  

I'm giving you my undivided attention and that's going to last one minute. Since you are not a Marine Mammal Scientist or Expert, I'll refer you to watch this new interview about Lolita and her fate which aired last night and is fact based. It is by far one of the most well done, educational and heart touching, 6 minutes you'll see on the subject. 
There should be a Mother and Daughter reunion. This animal is not a surfboard.


I don't see how anyone can think it is OK for any animal to perform tricks for tourists for 44 years every day. Just like we deserve it, Lolita deserves to be retired.


http://www.komonews.com/news/local/New-twists-in-battle-over-Lolita-give-activists-new-hope-260159721.html

m.delvalle1
m.delvalle1

Exactly...but once you brain wash an animal for years and years you can't expect it to not seek out human interaction...

dboggs11
dboggs11

Yes it is very sad to see her from bird's eye view! Such a tiny Tank! It is an illegal tank at that! Know human would want to be taken away from their family be fed when they want to and only if you do good. She can't hardly move in that tank How would you like to live in Captivity? If you can say that you could maybe you should!Debra Boggs


dboggs11
dboggs11

Well how many have they done?!! Not to many cause they all died in Captivity before they had the chance!  Keiko was given the choice to leave his sea pen and he took FREEDOM! And I feel  Lolita deserves that chance! Lolita has a lot better chance at being freed because they know where her family is!If she remains in her Sea Pen it is still much better for her to be there then in that illegal tiny tank they have her in.Better if it happen to see her die in the native ocean waters from which they stoled her from then her dying in such a tiny tank then just dumped in some landfill!

dboggs11
dboggs11

Keiko was a Male Orca ! And they say he choose to leave his sea pen for freedom  do you blame him! I saw a show on him and he was becoming stronger every day and loving it!That's more important to me . It's too bad they didn't know where his pod was in Iceland! They do know where Lolita's pod is and she calls to them daily. How sad . How would you like to live your life in a closet being feed if you were good! Which choice would you take if it was you. Would you ratter die with loved ones or die alone! Even if she has to stay in a Sea Pen in Washington she is much better for her then in that bathtub! Debra Boggs


soulshaman
soulshaman

False on two accounts. First, Keiko was male. Second, Dr. Lanny Cornell, Keiko's veterinarian since 1996, examines Keiko and finds that: “After 60 days at sea and traveling more than one thousand miles, Keiko is strong and does not appear to have lost any weight whatsoever. There can no longer be any doubt that Keiko has foraged successfully.”

dboggs11
dboggs11

Why do you keep calling Keiko a girl. That's how much you know about him! He was much better off then in Human Captivity! 


dboggs11
dboggs11

You don't know anything about HIM! He did not die of Starvation  ! And when he died they said that their was other orca's there trying to help him! Better look up your Info first! Also they didn't know where his pod was unlike Lolita  they know where her pod lives in Washington(Southern Residents )They also made sure that Keiko was eating on his own live fish before they released him and he was . So where did you get your Info from. They will make sure Lolita is eating on her own and they will work with her daily on power swims and dives to restore what she has lost due to being left in such small and,illegal tank size conditions! That's cruel. I hope that she can be reunited with her family again. And if she dies in her native waters it still would  much better then where she is now in that bathtub  and dumped in a landfill when she dies

soulshaman
soulshaman

False. Again. Keiko died from pneumonia.

soulshaman
soulshaman

Actually, you need help in the Marine Biology department. Keiko was male & he DID NOT die from starvation. He died from pneumonia, like roughly 39% of the other now deceased captive orcas.

soulshaman
soulshaman

Lolita was captured not bred in captivity.

m.delvalle1
m.delvalle1

@stkittchick1  Thats not going to work, she'll seek out human interaction and when a killer whale asks for a fish a commercial fisherman will kill her because he does not know she is lolita, the trained whale......Thank you Dr. Stupid

Exiliado
Exiliado

@stkittchick1  

No.

Why would we do that?


The Miami Seaquarium is a wonderful place to spend some quality family time. The food kinda sucks, but that's no biggie.


Same goes to Zoo Miami: Unique learning opportunity for our children. They can learn about plants and animals face to face, instead of sitting in front of a screen.


You party poopers don't like it? 

Don't go. Nobody's gonna miss your tantrums. 

jadeb
jadeb

@Exiliado  We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.

dboggs11
dboggs11

@Exiliado What a hard heart  Karma comes around maybe someone ought to put you in a closet and feed you when they want you to do tricks Captivty it's called And yes they do believe her mother is still alive What do you know!


Exiliado
Exiliado

@stkittchick1 @Exiliado  

Funny.

Maybe YOU should grow up.

Lolita is an animal. Animals do not understand concepts like freedom, love, or happiness. 

You toddlers can kick the ground and have your tantrums all you want, that's not going to change. 

Exiliado
Exiliado

@jadeb @Exiliado  


But you succeeded at it, so it should not be that hard.


Anyway, we digress. Did you ask her?

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