A necropsy report on the long-suffering orca Lolita (sometimes called Tokitae or Toki)—who died at age 57 at the Miami Seaquarium on August 18, 2023—has just been released, revealing the miserable existence and death that she, like so many other living, feeling sea animals held at marine parks, endured. She should never have been subjected to this abuse, and the specifics of her death are fueling the push for the release of other marine mammals used for entertainment.
The Deadly Details Revealed in Lolita’s Necropsy
Lolita’s necropsy showed that after spending more than half a century in a tiny, chlorinated concrete tank, she suffered greatly from multiple chronic conditions. Yet her mother is believed to be alive and free in the vast, open ocean.
Pneumonia, a chronic heart problem, and kidney failure were among the many conditions that led to Lolita’s death. According to a former Miami Seaquarium veterinarian, reducing her food intake may have “worsened [her] pre-existing kidney disease and predisposed her to pneumonia due to dehydration.”
Lolita’s Death and Necropsy Follow Years of Efforts to Free Her
PETA and our supporters have a long history of taking action to advocate for Lolita’s release. On March 30, 2023, The Dolphin Company—current owner of the Miami Seaquarium—announced plans to release her to a seaside sanctuary in Washington state. This exciting news followed a massive campaign in which we protested against the Seaquarium’s cruelty and pursued several lawsuits in her behalf.
Although plans to relocate the long-suffering orca never came to fruition, they were made possible through the generosity of philanthropist Jim Irsay, owner and CEO of the Indianapolis Colts. Lolita’s death has only strengthened our resolve to keep speaking out and urging marine parks to release orcas and other marine mammals into seaside sanctuaries.
If the U.S. Department of Agriculture had done its job in 2012 when PETA flagged Lolita’s minuscule tank as an animal welfare violation, she could have enjoyed over a decade in a seaside sanctuary in her home waters. Instead, the agency’s abject failure to enforce the law kept her imprisoned until she took her last breath.
“The Miami Seaquarium should shutter in shame, and SeaWorld must move Corky, the longest-held captive orca in the world, to a sanctuary before history repeats itself.”
—Ingrid Newkirk, PETA Founder and President
Take Action for Corky
Urge SeaWorld to release Corky into a seaside sanctuary so she doesn’t die in a tiny tank as Lolita did:
And never visit a marine park or any other place that exploits animals.