During a news conference this week, the Miami Seaquarium confirmed that it plans to release the long-suffering orca Lolita (aka “Tokitae”, “Toki”, and “Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut”) to a seaside sanctuary in the state of Washington, US, in the next two years, after spending over 50 years in a cramped tank.
This announcement follows a massive campaign by PETA entities – including several lawsuits on her behalf. Local residents and celebrities have raised awareness of her plight through dozens of protests, and The Dolphin Company partnered with Friends of Toki to campaign for her release. This work has been made possible through the generosity of philanthropist Jim Irsay, owner and CEO of the Indianapolis Colts NFL team.
Thank you to every kind person who has spoken up for Lolita and other animals suffering in marine prisons. This success wouldn’t have been possible without your help and support.
Lolita’s Lonely Life
Lolita was abducted from her home nearly 53 years ago and has been languishing in the world’s smallest orca tank ever since. She has been without the companionship of another orca since 1980, has had very little stimulation, and spends her days floating listlessly.
Marine Parks Are Prisons for Orcas
At marine parks, orcas are kept in cramped tanks around 10,000 times smaller than their natural home range. They’re housed alone or grouped with incompatible animals.
These conditions cause intense frustration, resulting in abnormal behaviour, and orcas often break their teeth by gnawing at the gates of their tanks.
They’re coerced into performing tricks for tourists in exchange for food, and the majority die far short of their natural life expectancy.
How You Can Help Other Orcas
The historic initiative to transfer Lolita to a seaside sanctuary sends a message to marine parks like SeaWorld that the days of confining highly intelligent, far-ranging marine mammals to cramped tanks are over.
Take action to help stop the exploitation of orcas in tourism: