PETA Buys Stock in Parques Reunidos in Bid to Release Lolita From Seaquarium

Being Shareholder in Parent Company Allows Group to Advocate for Animals’ Transfer to Coastal Sanctuaries

David Perle 202-483-7382


This morning, PETA became a shareholder in Parques Reunidos, the parent company of the Miami Seaquarium as well as Marineland in Antibes, France, in order to call for the release into seaside sanctuaries of Lolita and the other orcas imprisoned in concrete tanks at these dismal facilities.

Lolita, the only orca at the Miami Seaquarium, has spent nearly a half-century in captivity. She’s been without the companionship of another orca since 1980, when her tankmate, Hugo, died in an apparent suicide by ramming his head repeatedly into the tank wall. PETA’s stock purchase commemorates the 37th anniversary of Hugo’s death.

“Lolita’s extended family is still swimming freely in the ocean, and we want her to be reunited with them,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA is calling for all these highly intelligent, social animals to be released into seaside sanctuaries, where they can live a more natural life and be rehabilitated for potential release into the ocean, where they belong.”

Four orcas—Wikie, Inouk, Moana, and Keijo—are currently trapped at Marineland, where at least 12 orcas have died since 1970, including 19-year-old Valentin, who died in 2015 from severe internal injuries, after a storm caused the oxygenation and filtration systems in his tank to stop working, leaving him trapped in a pool of muddy water. This happened just months after his mother, Freya, died—decades before the maximum life expectancy of female orcas in the wild.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that, in nature, orcas have stable cultural traditions and sophisticated social structures. They swim up to 100 miles per day, forage freely, and share close relationships with their extended families, with whom they usually remain for life. In contrast, captive orcas can only swim in circles in small concrete tanks and are forced to perform circus-style tricks for a reward of dead fish.

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