By Kirsten Massebeau
A battle to return the imprisoned orca Lolita also known as Tokitae to her family the L-Pod in the Puget Sound makes steps forward, and towards freedom. Lolita is on the verge of being listed on the Endangered Species List. NOAA is considering adding Lolita to the Endangered species list to join her other pod mates in Washington thanks to a petition. The Orca Network believes that once she is listed she must be freed, allowed to retire and return home to her family in the Puget Sound:
“This means Lolita will now, presumably, be included as a member of an endangered population and must be accorded all the legal protections provided to her extended family. That would mean that her incarceration in a concrete box for the benefit of the entertainment industry would henceforth be illegal” (source)
For 40 years Lolita has been imprisoned at the Miami Seaquarium in one of the worlds tiniest tanks. Lolita is known as the remaining survivor of the famous Penn Cove Round up that took place August 8,1970. Seven whales were taken for captivity during the violent round up. Five other whales, including four babies drown. The victims that were killed had their bellies slit and filled with rocks in an attempt to cover up their deaths. But on November 18, 1970 the terrible secret of what happened that terrible day at Penn Cove would be revealed to the world:
“In mid-November a trawler dragged the bodies of the drowned infants into its net. The captain of the fishing boat deposited the dead baby whales on a beach in front of a Seattle newspaper reporter, and the story was immediately told to the world. Six years later this discovery played a major role in a court decision that banned Sea World from ever capturing another killer whale in Washington State”. (source)
Lolita has been performing at the Miami Seaquarium since 1970. The other seven whales captured with Lolita died within five years of their capture. Today Lolita the last remaining member of those captured from the Puget Sound has a chance at freedom and we can help! NOAA is asking for public comment on her upcoming Endangered Species listing. Please make a comment here. Let them know you support her addition to the endangered species listing and her eventual freedom. Isn’t it time this highly intelligent hard worker is allowed to retire and return home?