After years of living in forced capacity and was captivated to performs for an audience, the gorgeous resident geriatric orca of the Miami Seaquarium, Lolita may soon be released to the Salish Sea where her mother is still seen roaming. Animal advocates, Indigenous activists, and others have worked hard to try and end the harmful practice and the captivity of these gorgeous creatures in these small pools.
Lolita was captured back in 1970 in the Salish Sea, just off the coast of Washington, at only four-years of age. This is also known as the home to several pods of killer whales. Since her captivity 52 years ago, Lolita had to endure forced captivity in one of the smallest tanks among those of captive orcas in the U.S. For several decades, she has been forced to perform for crowds in a small tank, which has resulted in several injuries. She has hit her head while performing “fast swims,” and her bloodwork has also shown some abnormalities. It has also been reported that she might not be getting enough food, which only adds to the long list of health concerns.
Howard Garrett, a whale researcher and activist with Orca Network stated, “She’s a miracle every day. It’s against all odds that she is still alive. I think it's about her mental health that keeps her physical health in good shape. She's not withdrawn, neurotic, not the stereotypic behaviour that indicates any kind of brain damage associated with being in captivity. She may be a complete outlier in her ability to stay healthy.”Due to a change in ownership, Lolita’s chances to be release are looking very bright.