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PETA Continues Fight for Lolita

Written by PETA | October 12, 2012

The fight to free Lolita, the lone captive orca at the Miami Seaquarium, continues: PETA, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), the Orca Network, and private citizens concerned about Lolita’s living conditions have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), challenging its outrageous decision to renew the Seaquarium’s federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) license. 

Failing Lolita—and the Law

The AWA, which the USDA is charged with enforcing, prohibits licensing a facility that is out of compliance with the act. Yet the Seaquarium keeps Lolita without the company of another orca in a tank so small that it fails to meet the minimum legal size requirements and also offers no protection from the burning sun—all violations of the law.

In nature, where Lolita’s mother still thrives at more than 80 years of age, orcas live in tight family units, with bonds that may last a lifetime. At the Seaquarium, Lolita swims in endless circles in a tiny barren cement tank. This highly intelligent and social wild animal has been without an orca companion since 1980, when her tank mate, Hugo, died of a brain aneurysm after reportedly ramming his head into the side of their tank, in what many believe to be a desperate attempt to break out of the tank—or even commit suicide.


© Terrell C. Newby, Ph.D.

Lolita was violently captured during a roundup of the now-endangered Southern Resident killer whales off the coast of Washington State’s Whidbey Island.

What You Can Do

Please send a polite e-mail to Dr. Elizabeth Goldentyer, eastern regional director of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the USDA, asking that the agency revoke the Miami Seaquarium’s exhibitor license. Also, never, ever visit any marine park or aquarium.

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  • jacqui thomas says:

    What right has anyone got to steal this poor baby from its home set lolita free and let her enjoy the rest of her remaining years where she rightly belongs

  • Sue Fahey says:

    Please “free” Lolita, she needs to get back to her fmily. Her living conditions are “UNNATURAL” for an orca – someone show MERCY!!!

  • Anne-Marie says:

    Sent a letter to Dr. Goldentyer. It’s time to understand and to free Lolita.

  • Kate Larson says:

    Hugo wasn’t trying to commit suicide. He was trying to communicate with Toki.

  • SeaworldSupporter says:

    MICA, God said let they’re be light.

  • Roland Yock Kim says:

    To Whom It May Concern, I respectfully request that Lolita be freed after 40+ years of captivity in an lonely undersized pool with no protection from the harsh South Florida weather. I believe that she’s paid her dues and then some. She can rejoin the pod (family group) were she was savagely taken from off the Coast of Washington State because marine biologists know where they congregate. IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO! PLEASE DO IT.

  • MSO says:

    E-mail sent. I hope that Peta and all the people who chose to get involved in this cause will have success. Lolita and ALL of the animals being held as kidnap victims around the world will be returned to their natural habitats.

  • SeaworldSupporter says:

    Rachel actually they don’t. She will die. Even with her mother. Shes lived 42 YEARS. Keiko died one year after being released and he was a captive whale for 22.5 years. Liolta might last 6 months at the most. She spent double than Keiko.

  • Corinne says:

    Free Lolita!

  • Jenny Rindfleish says:

    Please free Lolita it is the only sane and humane way to treat such a wonderful living soul. My heart is in pain just thinking about her imprisonment. Please free her NOW!!!!!!!!!

  • Fran Hogan says:

    I have written to Dr Goldentyer begging the urgent reversal of the cruel decision to renew the Seaquarium’ license. This is 2012! There are whale watching tours and all sorts of ways we can enjoy the magnificence of the creatures that share our planet with us without taking them out of their homes and away from their families and inflicting physical and emotional harm. Like so many of my friends you could not pay me enough to visit one of these horrors…..

  • Mish says:

    Letter sent!

  • JaneyHauber says:

    Please free Lolita to her family and the sea. It is cruel and inhumane to confine her in a prison so small she can only swim in circles and constantly be exposed to the sun which tortures her delicate skin. As the great Mahatma Gandhi stated, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Please find your morality and free Lolita.

  • Jessica says:

    A week ago I heard they were going to sue the USDA … I hope this goes to court before some judge decides to throw it out without a second thought. What are some things I can do to help… every voice counts right!?

  • Valerie says:

    Imagine yourself, taken from your family and placed into a prison cell for no reason what so ever at random. This animal is miserable and it makes me sick to see this, I was thinking of heading to this park next summer but my mind has been made up not to, I will advise my friends the same.

  • Mica says:

    God said to FREE Lolita!

  • Sandra Iseman says:

    Please free her — it’s time we stop keeping ocean mammals in tiny cages — now that we know it’s sheer torture to them, nothing can justify our continued practice of this.

  • Rachael says:

    Even criminals receive better treatment in prisons/jails than poor Lolita, which just goes to show how backwards our world is when it comes to animal rights – so I ask you, why is Lolita being punished when all she was doing was living and trying to survive? – please help to set her free, I beg you.

  • Melissa Young says:

    Wouldn’t the equivalent be: enticing a family unit to see some form of entertainment and then have someone kidnap a member of the family from the event. Wouldn’t the members of the family claim an injustice from having their family member taken against their will from one of these events? Wouldn’t they NEVER stop looking?? Wouldn’t they NEVER stop fighting for her?? How is this different? Set Lolita FREE!!

  • susana de lara says:

    It is said , whatever you do to others it will be done to yourself , sooner or later.

  • Brittany F says:

    This is barbaric and unethical please return this beautiful majestic animal back to her home and back to her family.

  • Mary Mulcahy says:

    We have a voice, these gentle beings do not. Please show some compassion and let her be free as she was meant to be. To confine her to “prison” is inhumane. Animals are never for our entertainment, we share the earth with them. We, all beings, deserve respect.

  • daniela hinds says:

    please, lets stop this unnecessary abuse. humans are bringing to extinction the animal population and soon, someday, we will extinct as well. because we cannot live without nature! we are part of it.

  • Mari Montero says:

    Why do people does stuff like this to an innocent creature…. like someone mentioned before and I quote: “these animals are meant to live in groups, how would you like to live in solitary confinement for the rest of your life?”…this is not fair for her nor any other animal so please be fair and think a little about what this is doing to her!

  • PETA says:

    Dr. Elizabeth Goldentyer’s email address: Betty.J.Goldentyer@aphis.usda.gov Thank you!

  • carmen bonilla says:

    Free Lolita. she deserves to be in wild..havd a heart and let her free.

  • sarojini says:

    please free Lolita.we are born free and remain freeisnt it.they too deserve their freedom

  • Karla says:

    Please Dr. Elizabeth Goldentyer revoke the Miami Seaquarium’s exhibitor license, they had had Lolita for too many years now, she deserves to be free and die with dignity in the wild

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