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U.S. Betrays Imprisoned Lolita

Written by Michelle Kretzer | November 17, 2011

When the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) listed the Southern Resident killer whale population as endangered, affording them protection from being harmed or harassed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the agency left out one lone orca.

Lolita was captured from the Southern Resident population off the coast of Washington in 1970 as a calf and has been held captive in a tiny cement tank—forced to perform at the Miami Seaquarium—ever since. NMFS cited these captures as the likely reason for the population’s decline, yet it still denied protection to Lolita, the only surviving victim.

Together with the Animal Legal Defense Fund, local residents, and a former Seaquarium employee, PETA filed a lawsuit against NMFS in Lolita’s behalf alleging that her exclusion from the ESA was unlawful. If we are successful, the Miami Seaquarium will be prohibited from harming or harassing her—and PETA could then try for precedent-setting improvements for Lolita, such as a larger tank, no more forced performances, or even release to a sea pen in her native waters.

While we go after marine-mammal abusers in the courtroom, you can go after them at the bank by refusing to fund this cruelty with your admission fee. Please also click here to send a polite e-mail to Eric C. Schwaab, assistant administrator for fisheries, asking that the agency ensure that Lolita is given the protection that she is rightfully due under the Endangered Species Act.

Commenting is closed.
  • kamikaze says:

    oh my god!!! i hate the US!! let her go! please, just let her go.

  • elrussell says:

    Let her go. Go home to her POD. The difference between her and Kieko is that they have found Lolitas family.Her POD is here in the pacific NW. They never found kieko’s.So he wandered alone. No more tanks. Sea Pens with the “whales ” choice to join their family. Not the humans making the choice. Go PETA! We love your effort. You can do so much.

  • carla lesh says:

    Please free this baby.. this is prison.. Humans beings are so damn selfish! I am so tired of how we treat animals. So damn tired.

  • Jenn says:

    This isn’t much time left to Stop the Miami Seqauqarium from hosting the WHite Party this Friday November 25th. This party, lasting from 8pm- 4am, will include live techno music and a huge firreworks show on the the Seaquarium property right next to Lolita’s tank and the 30 Dolphins that live there. PLEASE, sign this petition so we cant STOP this party!! Thank You!

  • kassandra says:

    je suis vegan quan je voi lolita ca mùe brise le coeur et poutant cela me rapel une histoire une histoire il ya deu ans javais des poisson rouge dans un aquarium ma premiere penser ete de les remettre dans la mer mais les commentaire du vendeur et dautre mon di quil aller mourir si je le feser donc je les garder emprisonner dans un bocal et il son mort la fin de ce recit est de plus ecouter les conseille de cette societe qui nous fon devenir comme eux a notre inssu et ecouter ca vrai ce dire que meme un poisson rouge et comme lolita et a besoin de son environement naturel malgres ce que l on peu nous faire croire

  • HNB says:

    Thank goodness thats fantastic! i pray she will get justice and no longer suffer in that tiny tank!

  • Palmetto animal lover says:

    I bet the animals feel like Thomas Payne. “Live free or Die! Give them some dignity. Even an afternoon of being free would be better than none at all. Think how you would feel.

  • Cyndi says:

    I am so glad that PETA is getting involved, I worked with Tim and Val, Rattle the for so many years demonstrating on Sundays and all Mother’s days, we tried so hard and they would not let her go. I hope PETA can finally set her free.

  • kuldeep says:

    This is wonderful news! I wish everyone involved the best!! Thank you for coming to Lolita’s aid. She has spent 40 years in a tank that is only one and a half times her size at the Miami Seaquarium.

  • Jesse says:

    Wow… One thing I FINALLY agree with peta on… I definitely agree that Lolita needs to be taken from this park. I absolutely do not think she should be released as, at her age, it would likely kill her like it did Keiko but there are so many places that have tanks way bigger than her current one. What about the aquarium in Oregon who built the ginormous tank for Keiko? The deal was that they didnt have to pay for it to be built and then they got to keep it for their own use after Keiko was moved from it. Lolita and a compatible companion or two would absolutely thrive there. She would probably feel so freaking spoiled to have a tank like that. I have seen the pitiful pictures of her tail curled underneath her when she has her head out of the water. She needs another male like Hugo since the tank would be big enough to keep him from bashing his head into the wall. What about Tilikum? I feel that he should be removed from Seaworld. He barely made it out of this recent attack with his life. I don’t see him making it through another attack (God forbid) with his life. Why not move him to a tank with Lolita (if they got along well) so that he didn’t have to be in performances anymore where there is such a huge risk of another attack, malicious or not? Don’t get me wrong. I love SeaWorld and don’t like peta as I think they go way overboard but this could produce good results if peta stays reasonable. There are ways to improve the lives of captive whales without going to the extreme and releasing them all (since that worked out SO well for Keiko who spent that time lonely, depressed, and seeking out the company of humans).

  • Niki says:

    This is wonderful news! I wish everyone involved the best!! Thank you for coming to Lolita’s aid. She has spent 40 years in a tank that is only one and a half times her size at the Miami Seaquarium. It’s pitiful to see her bobbing listlessly day after day in the hot Florida sun. She belongs in the wild with her family pod, in the beautiful Pacific Northwest!

  • TW says:

    This is AWESOME! I live where Lolita should be and everytime I see them, I think about what the day would look and feel like to have her return to her home. She would be able to feel the ocean, hear her family again and maybe, just maybe, be able to reunite with her family. She does have living relatives here and I have no doubt they would know her instantly. Please continue this incredible battle!!!

  • Robin says:

    This is fantastic! Hopefully we can get justice for Lolita!