Human Interest

51 years in captivity: Activists call for killer whale Lolita’s release

Miami, Aug 7 (EFE).- Activists from the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Saturday called for the release of Lolita, the orca, who has spent more than five decades in a tank at the Miami Seaquarium.

PETA activists held protests in downtown Miami to mark the 51st anniversary of Lolita’s captivity in a water park in the city.

“Trapped since 1970. Free me” read the sign held by an activist sitting in a bathtub in the middle of a thoroughfare on Brickell Avenue. Her body was painted like a killer whale.

This weekend marks 51 years since Lolita, the abysmally lonely orca, was abducted from her family off the coast of Washington state, near Vancouver, Canada.

PETA activists emphasized that Lolita has now spent more than five decades in the smallest orca tank in the world, which is like confining a human into a bathtub.

“Without human help, Lolita cannot break out of that concrete cell and return to the family and home she has been denied for more than five decades,” PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said.

“PETA wants her to spend her last years in a seaside sanctuary where she would finally feel ocean currents instead of the sides of concrete walls—the Miami Seaquarium owes her that.”

The whale arrived at the Miami Seaquarium on Sep.24, 1970, where she is known as Lolita when she was four.

Since then, she is confined in a pool of about 60 feet (18 meters ) in length and a maximum depth of 20 feet (6 meters). The orca is now 55.

Animal rights organizations have denounced for years that the place where she lives is too small for an animal of a species that usually swims a hundred miles (160 km) a day in the wild and submerges tens of meters deep.

The activists claim that the tank where Lolita lives does not comply with the measures of the Animal Welfare Law, which requires that it be at least 80 feet (24 meters) long, that is, twice the length of an orca adult.

In addition, Lolita has not had contact with any other member of her species since the death of Hugo with whom she lived. Hugo died in 1980 at the seaquarium.

PETA urged Miami-Dade Attorney General Katherine Fernández Rundle in August 2020 to investigate the Miami aquarium for animal abuse. EFE


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