More than four decades ago, the whale who has since come to be known as Lolita was ripped from her pod and shipped to the Miami Seaquarium, where she remains to this day. The National Marine Fisheries Service is now proposing to grant her protections under the Endangered Species Act—protections given in 2005 to the population of whales from which she was captured.
Protecting Lolita under the Endangered Species Act would not mean she would be released into the wild. But it would prevent her from being held for the sole purpose of performing, as she is today.
Please take action, and tell the National Marine Fisheries Service that you support protecting Lolita under the Endangered Species Act.
Photo Credit: Picture of my own, Piotr Domaradzki, Miami, FL, 1998
To: National Marine Fisheries Service
I applaud the National Marine Fisheries Service for proposing the protection of the orca whale Lolita under the Endangered Species Act.
It is only because laws like the Marine Mammal Protection Act weren't in place when she was captured that she has been excluded from these protections to date. The remainder of her pod (the "L" pod) and her community, the Southern Resident killer whales, were rightly protected under the act in 2005 at a time when she was specifically excluded.
Her decades-long confinement for the purpose of performing for the entertainment of visitors to the Miami Seaquarium is not in keeping with the letter or the spirit of the Endangered Species Act, and we support a remedy that would include either the relocation of Lolita from that facility to a "retirement seapen" or a well-supervised reintroduction to the seas from which she was captured.
I support the granting of Endangered Species Act protections to Lolita and urge that the NMFS require a Section 10 Permit for any further time Lolita will be held in captivity. I further implore the NMFS to require that any facility that houses Lolita be required to comply with the Animal Welfare Act.
[Your name here]