Dear Friends of Lolita,
Many of you have seen the disturbing reports from Miami in the past few days. The stadium has been closed for about a week now. Security at the Seaquarium has been very tight, with lights on at the whale tank all night long and a dozen or so vehicles parked nearby. As of 2 pm yesterday Lolita's blows could be heard, but observers have been removed so even that much information is hard to come by now.
The front office has told callers and the media that Lolita has a "toothache" and that the tank is being "repaired," so essentially no information is forthcoming from management.
Today, Sunday, at about 11 AM Shelby Proie posted a message on Facebook that a helicopter had landed inside the park grounds and four people got out. That's the kind of sketchy and mysterious details we're getting now, but indications are that Lolita may be ill. If the toothache story has any credibility, it could be serious because poor dentition can lead to systemic infections that could exhaust her compromised immune system, as described in:
Keto and Tilikum Express the Stress of Orca Captivity
By Drs Jeffrey Ventre and John Jett, both former trainers at SeaWorld, this is a landmark study into how captivity causes stress and early death for orcas in marine parks.
We are very grateful for the wonderful folks who are keeping an eye on Lolita in very difficult circumstances, and who have been campaigning and demanding that the Seaquarium allow her to retire in her home waters. They are too numerous to name here at this time.
We'll of course update you all whenever we hear something definite. You can find the latest updates on the Orca Network Facebook page.
Thanks to all,
Howard and Susan