Update: We have a
promising development to report. Following the filing of our lawsuit, the
National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has agreed to reconsider its exclusion
of Lolita from the Endangered Species Act listing of the Southern Resident
orcas—the family from which she was taken more than 40 years ago.
Under this agreement, PETA and the Animal Legal Defense Fund
will submit a new petition asking for Lolita to be included in the listing, and
NMFS must make a decision based solely on
the biological status of the orcas—whether the population is threatened or endangered—within the
legally required time frame. The time has come for the government to give Lolita
the same protection offered to her family in the wild and reunite her with her
pod, whose calls she recognized when they were played to her even after decades
Originally posted August 23:
The fight to free Lolita, the lone captive orca at the Miami Seaquarium, continues: PETA, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), the Orca Network, and private citizens concerned about Lolita’s living conditions have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), challenging its outrageous decision to renew the Seaquarium’s federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) license.
Failing Lolita—and the Law
The AWA, which the USDA is charged with enforcing, prohibits licensing a facility that is out of compliance with the act. Yet the Seaquarium keeps Lolita without the company of another orca in a tank so small that it fails to meet the minimum legal size requirements and also offers no protection from the burning sun—all violations of the law.
In nature, where Lolita’s mother still thrives at more than 80 years of age, orcas live in tight family units, with bonds that may last a lifetime. At the Seaquarium, Lolita swims in endless circles in a tiny barren cement tank. This highly intelligent and social wild animal has been without an orca companion since 1980, when her tank mate, Hugo, died of a brain aneurysm after reportedly ramming his head into the side of their tank, in what many believe to be a desperate attempt to break out of the tank—or even commit suicide.
© Terrell C. Newby,
was violently captured, like this orca was, during a roundup of the
now-endangered Southern Resident killer whales off the coast of Washington State’s Whidbey Island.
What You Can Do
Please send a polite e-mail to Dr. Elizabeth Goldentyer, eastern regional director of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the USDA, asking that the agency revoke the Miami Seaquarium’s exhibitor license. Also, never, ever visit any marine park or aquarium.
Article source: PETA Files