Lolita, Miami Seaquarium Orca, Granted Endangered Status

Categories: Animals

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Miami Seaquarium's resident orca, Lolita, may be one step closer to winning her freedom. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced today it has ruled to include her in the Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing of southern resident killer whales.

This ruling means Lolita is now granted the same protection as the rest of her family, which lives in the waters off Washington state's San Juan Islands (where Lolita was captured 44 years ago). According to PETA, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), Orca Network, and others, the decision is a direct result of their collective petitioning of the agency on Lolita's behalf.

See also: March For Lolita at Virginia Key Beach Park

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Hot Dogs on Parade at the South Beach Dachshund Winterfest

Categories: Animals

Just as there are many ethnicities of human, there are many breeds of dog. Chihuahua dads, German shepherd moms, pound-puppy parents -- each will argue that their breed (or mixed breed) is best.

But dachshund lovers are in a class of their own. Fans of the hot dog tend to be more passionate than most, and locally, their tireless devotion culminates annually in the South Beach Dachshund Winterfest.

See also: The Pooches of South Beach Dachshund Winterfest 2015

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Miami Dolphins End Contract With SeaWorld

Categories: Animals

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Photo by Marino Carlos | Flickr CC
Ever since the documentary Blackfish pulled back the curtain on the lives of captive orcas, SeaWorld has seen some serious backlash. Corporate sponsors such as Hyundai Motor America, Panama Jack, Southwest Airlines, and Virgin America have cut ties with the company, celebs have distanced themselves, and attendance is down.

Now, the latest organization to end its partnership with the theme park is the Miami Dolphins. Come March, the team's contract with SeaWorld will run out, and it won't be renewed.

According to PETA, the breakup is due to the animal rights organization's influence, but a representative for the football team wouldn't give a specific reason.

See also: Animal Advocates March for Release of Lolita, Miami Seaquarium's Orca

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Jerry Powers Paints to Free Lolita From Miami Seaquarium

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Courtesy of Jerry Powers/Swampspace
Don't confuse Jerry Powers' picture of Lolita with children's pictures of Miami Seaquarium's resident orca.

Instead, his childlike portrait of the whale is part of "Jerry Powers: Saving Lolita," the former media mogul's first solo show, opening tonight at 7 at the Design District's Swampspace. The exhibition is part of a national campaign to improve the conditions of whales in captivity, says Powers, who took up the brush and canvas only two years ago.

The 67-year-old calls his style of painting "neo-pop expressionalism." The bold, primary colors and loose gestural brushstrokes give the impression that his work was created by a much younger hand.

"We all colored when we were kids," observes the founder of Ocean Drive magazine, who sold his glossy publication for $30 million in 2007.

See also: Animal Advocates March for Release of Lolita, Miami Seaquarium's Orca

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Doggy Fest Takes Over Bayfront Park Tomorrow

Categories: Animals

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Photo by LuAnn Snawder Photography | Flickr CC
That face, though.
It's tough to be a dog. You have to stay home and lick your nether region while your humans go to restaurants, the gym, the mall -- all sorts of fun places where you just aren't welcome. So you'll just go back to licking yourself and gazing with sad brown eyes, telegraphing your doggy doldrums.

Luckily for you, tomorrow is Doggy Fest at Bayfront Park, the perfect cure for your blues.

The daylong celebration of all things canine is open to fur-babies of all shapes and sizes. A full lineup of pooch-perfect events awaits. There's a dog-and-owner lookalike contest (which this baby will probably win), obstacle courses, and other fun stuff.

See also: Ten Reasons to Find a New Best Friend at Miami ASPCA Mega-Match-a-Thon Friday

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Animal Advocates March for Release of Lolita, Miami Seaquarium's Orca

Categories: Animals

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Courtesy of Miracle March for Lolita
If you've lived in Miami longer than a single Heat season, you've likely heard about the plight of one of the city's longtime residents: Lolita. The 7,000-pound orca has been living and performing at Miami Seaquarium in Key Biscayne since 1970.

Lolita, whose birth name is Tokitae, is in a unique situation. The last remaining orca captured between 1968 and 1972, she has spent the past 44 years in the smallest tank for an animal her size in North America.

For decades, animal advocates have been fighting for her release, and with the widespread popularity of the award-winning documentary Blackfish, awareness of her situation has grown exponentially. The Miracle March for Lolita January 17 hopes to attract 1,000 supporters in a show of solidarity they hope will persuade officials to free her, once and for all.

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

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Ringling Bros. Circus Will Arrive in Miami Amid Controversy

Categories: Animals

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Wikimedia Commons
Elephants performing at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in St. Louis, Missouri.
When the Ringling Bros. Circus opens in Miami this Thursday, it will do so in the middle of some serious controversy. Animal advocates allege Ringling Bros. violated the Animal Welfare Act by keeping three elephants confined in a small boxcar for four days.

The complaint, sent by the advocacy organization PETA to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, charges that the elephants -- Rudy, Sara, and Nicole -- were kept in their boxcars without access to open air. PETA alleges the incident occurred while the elephants were Miami-bound. According to the animal-focused website The Dodo, PETA's allegations stem "from a recent report compiled by USDA inspectors who directed Ringling to alter its veterinary practices."

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

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Ten Reasons to Find a New Best Friend at Miami ASPCA Mega-Match-a-Thon Friday

Categories: Animals

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Courtesy of MDAS
The holidays are quickly approaching. And in a city full of gypsies, wanderers, and escapees from colder climates, that can mean a lot of folks are about to fall into a seasonal pit of loneliness and despair.

Luckily, nothing cures the I-miss-my-family blues like the unconditional love of a pet. And shelter pets are the best pets of all. They need you, you need them...equal footing makes for the best relationships.

On that note, this weekend is the Miami ASPCA Mega-Match-a-thon at Tropical Park. Starting at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, it's 24 hours of adorable adoptables, just waiting for you to come snuggle. Here are ten reasons to find your new best friend at this weekend's cornucopia of cute.

See also: North Miami Beach Votes to Ban Sale of Commercially Bred Pets in Stores

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Help Name Jungle Island's New Baby Mini Zebu and Capuchin Monkey

Categories: Animals, Deals

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Photos courtesy Rachel Pinzur
This lovely lass needs a name!
Thank you, Jungle Island, for endorphin-boosting work distractions.

To celebrate its upcoming Neighbor Days special this weekend, Jungle Island invites the public to help name two newborn cuties: a capuchin monkey and a miniature zebu.

See also: Vulcan the Liger Is Back Home at Jungle Island

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Expect Cute Overload at This Weekend's Vegan-Friendly Animal Adoption Fair

Categories: Animals

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Courtesy of Animal Adoption Fair
The survival rate for homeless animals is pretty dismal. So dismal, in fact, that we won't delve into all the details here and ruin your sunny morning. Instead, we'll talk about this Sunday's Animal Adoption Fair at Fort Lauderdale's War Memorial Auditorium, a chance to meet, greet and hopefully head home with a new furry family member.

Now in its fourth year, this furbaby blowout will feature live music, vegan fair food, raffles and all the adorable adoptables you can handle.

See also: Animal Agriculture Is Destroying the Planet

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