This life means daily misery for Lolita, but big bucks for the Miami Seaquarium. And, even though her shameful living conditions clearly violate the Animal Welfare Act, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) continues to hand out AWA licenses to the Seaquarium.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund is outraged and petitioning the USDA to give Lolita the justice she so rightly deserves.
Lolita was one of seven orcas kidnapped in the notorious 1970 Penn Cove round up in Puget Sound, Washington. In this horrific event, when four orcas (three calves) drowned in the nets, their bellies were slit in an attempt by human captors to sink the bodies and perhaps to hide this shameful waste of life. However, the bodies of the dead orcas washed ashore and lead to righteous public outrage. You can hear the cries of Lolita and her family in the devastating video footage of her family’s capture.
“For some reason I couldn’t see the video that would play on that page; so I have included this video instead, which has some of the soundtrack from that capture!”
Killer Whale Captures
Uploaded by alanhclips on 31 Aug 2009
Footage shot by KING TV in the early 1970’s of the early killer whale captures in Puget Sound.
“In this video one of the divers from that day, explains what happened, he still shed tears to this day!”
“Orca Stories” from “Baby Wild Films Presents: The Killer Whale People”
“Another video that show’s part of capture of the whales”
“A promo stunt goes badly wrong when a theme park secretary is given the opportunity to ride on the back of a killer whale; but it goes terribly wrong & the women ends up having over 100 stitches to close the wound on her leg! I don’t think this whale did this out of malice, I think it’s out of sheer frustration; the pools they swim in are like bath tubs to the orcas!”
“Please sign the petition, do anything you can to have these beautiful mammals put back where they belong…in the WILD”
In the wild, orcas spend their entire lives with their mothers and family bonds last a lifetime. In 1996, twenty-six years after her capture, Lolita was played a recording of her family’s calls. Heartbreakingly, Lolita returned the distinct dialect of her family’s calls, in clear recognition of familiar voices. And at more than 80 years old, Lolita’s mother still thrives in a seaside sanctuary in their home waters, just waiting for Lolita to come home.
Instead, because she brings in profit, Lolita swims tiny circles in a shallow and barren cement tank that doesn’t meet the minimum requirements of the Animal Welfare Act. Constantly exposed to the burning Miami sun and tropical storms, Lolita has been without any orca companion for three decades.
In the beginning, Lolita had the company of Hugo, a male orca who shared her tank from 1971 until 1980. They mated, but in her stressful environment Lolita suffered unsuccessful pregnancies. In 1980, in what many believe was a desperate attempt to break free from his miserable prison, or commit suicide, Hugo continuously rammed his head into the side of the tank and died of a brain aneurysm Since Hugo’s sudden death in 1980, which left Lolita sulking at the bottom of her tank in a state “not unlike bereavement,” Lolita has not had a killer whale companion.
As a reward for her own extraordinary will to live, Lolita has been exploited for 42 years. She was abducted from her family and enslaved purely for the profit of the “amusement” park. Despite shameful and inhumane living conditions, Lolita endures – and her survivor spirit has haunted the hearts of people around the world. But given the low quality of her life at Seaquarium, it is likely she will die decades before her time, unless we act now, as we did for Keiko (“Willy”). It is time for us to set Lolita free.
Published on 22 Aug 2012 by ALDFstaff
ALDF Fights to Free Lolita
This is why ALDF is doing everything it can to help return Lolita to her family. In addition to a petition to stop the USDA’s unmerited renewal of the Seaquarium’s AWA license, ALDF (along with PETA) is suing the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to end the exclusion of Lolita from the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of the Pacific Northwest’s Southern Resident orcas.
ALDF is asking the courts to intervene where federal agencies – charged with protecting Lolita – have repeatedly failed her. “The horror of Lolita’s confinement is almost inconceivable” says Jenni James, litigation fellow at ALDF. “It is time for the government to grant her the legal protections she has been denied for decades.”
What You Can Do to Help
- Do not buy a ticket to any amusement park with captive orcas, especially the Miami Seaquarium.
- Educate yourself, educate your friends, and spread the word.
- Arrange a screening of Lolita: Slave to Entertainment at your school, community center, library, or local community television station.
- Do not support companies like Princess Cruises (a division of Carnival Cruises) that endorse animal cruelty at the Seaquarium.
- Contact the USDA and ask them to follow the law provided in the Animal Welfare Act.
- Sign ALDF’s Petition to the:- National Marine Fisheries Service.
- Award-winning documentary about Lolita, “Lolita: Slave to Entertainment.”
- What happens to Lolita if she is set free? Read the proposed retirement plan, which ALDF supports.
- Watch the Orca Project’s video, “A Better Way to See Orcas.”
- Copies of the lawsuit are available upon request.