Look Who Lolita the Orca Has on Her Side Now

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4 min read

Lolita (whose given name is Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut) is the sole survivor of the largest orca capture in history. She has been confined for the past 45 years to the tiniest orca tank in the United States—a tank so small that it’s illegal. Despite the fact that Lolita, like the rest of the Southern Resident orca population, is protected under the Endangered Species Act, the Miami Seaquarium refuses to let her go. And her captivity is quickly becoming a dark stain on Miami’s reputation.

Sad Lolita

PETA supporter Amy Zakarin, who works in public relations in Miami, is rallying officials, businesspeople, and celebrities to unite for Lolita’s freedom. Some of the notable Miamians who have joined Team Lolita include the following:

[Mahatma Gandhi said,] “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Miami should be known as the beautiful, modern city that it is—not as the home of the smallest orca tank in North America. This endangered animal must be released as soon as possible from the appalling conditions at the Seaquarium and moved to a sanctuary in her home waters.

Philip Levine, mayor of Miami Beach

Lolita Alone in Tank

She was violently kidnapped from her mother while she was still only a baby and has spent 45 years in captivity, living in one of the smallest whale enclosures in the world, without contact with another orca for 35 of those years. It’s time to have some compassion and do what’s right. She deserves to be free for the rest of her life, as nature intended. I pray that sanity and reason prevail here.

—Louis Aguirre, television anchor on The Insider

Lolita and Family Being Captured in 1971

Miami is one of the most progressive cities in the world. Holding orcas captive for show is no longer acceptable. It is completely necessary that we, as an international city, support the release of Lolita from her 45 years of captivity at the Miami Seaquarium.

—Jorge Pérez, chair, CEO, and founder of Related Group

1971 Orca capture off the coast of Washington State (Lolita)

Lolita has spent 45 years alone in a tiny barren concrete tank. We are all aware of the tragic sadness and harm inflicted upon these majestic, highly intelligent, endangered creatures in captivity. We now know it’s not entertainment. It’s just wrong. With knowledge comes responsibility. The time has come to do what’s right. We must help return Lolita to her native habitat. Her protected sea pen is ready. Miami, a city so dear to my heart, now has the opportunity to set a powerful example for the rest of the world. I urge everyone to please support this extremely overdue effort. Lolita’s future depends on the conscience of mankind. Let’s do what’s right.

Daisy Fuentes, television host and model

Daisy Fuentes

Two of Miami’s biggest attractions are its entertainment industry and natural beauty. The value in entertainment is novelty, while freedom is nature’s currency. Let’s repay Lolita and retire her today!

DJ Irie, official DJ of the Miami Heat

1971 Orca capture off the coast of Washington State (Lolita and Family)

It is a shock that Miami, being such a progressive and international city, allows endangered species to continue being used as circus acts. Let’s act as responsible, educated, compassionate human beings, living in the 21st century in the most powerful nation on Earth. Let’s lead by example and help Lolita.

Ingrid Hoffmann, celebrity chef

1971 Orca capture off the coast of Washington State (Lolita and Family)

Great strides have been made this year for rights in this country, yet we still allow animals to be imprisoned for our entertainment. After 45 years, it is time for us to rally and release back the orcas. This is the chance for Miami to take the lead on animal rights and request that Miami Seaquarium finally retire Lolita.

Courtland Lantaff, publisher of Ocean Drive Magazine

Lolita at the Miami Seaquarium. She has her head above the water and her mouth is open.

Two generations of my family have visited the Miami Seaquarium and seen Lolita’s performance without realizing what we were supporting. Thankfully, a lot has changed, and with that, our awareness of her capture and life in captivity is something we cannot ignore. It is time to do the right thing for her and work with the experts who have a real retirement plan for Lolita. Forty-five years in captivity is enough.

Sergio Rok, president of Rok Enterprises

What You Can Do

Add your voice and join the call for Lolita’s release into a coastal sanctuary today.

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