We have a first person report that on Thursday Lolita performed in a scheduled show. She breached vigorously and seemed responsive to signals. The trainer was able to ride her repeatedly around the tank.
The park has not released any details on her condition or treatment, except to say she was given antibiotics, but it appears that Lolita has successfully fought off a serious systemic infection. Antibiotics are routinely given to orcas with elevated white blood cell counts indicating major internal infections. In many cases the whales die anyway, but Lolita did not. After two weeks of intense day and night medical care and attention she bounced back.
She'll now go back to spending nights alone in a concrete hole in a silent park, unless her infections flare up again. She has to be near death to get the attention she needs to live.
There is no protection from the midday sun in the whale stadium at the Seaquarium, a clear violation of the Animal Welfare Act. Instead they coat her with zinc oxide stained black to avoid being noticed.
Section 3.103(3)(b) of the Animal Welfare Act - Protection from Weather and Direct Sunlight - requires that:
"Natural or artificial shelter which is appropriate for the species concerned, when the local climatic conditions are taken into consideration, shall be provided for all marine mammals kept outdoors to afford them protection from the weather or from direct sunlight.
Today Orca Network sent a letter to:
Dr. Nicolette Petervary, VMD
Regional Animal Care Specialist
USDA, APHIS, Marketing and Regulatory Programs
920 Main Campus Drive Suite 200
Eastern Regional Office, Raleigh, NC. 27606
By Fax: 919-855-7123
We asked Dr. Petervary to conduct an inspection of the Seaquarium in regards to the lack of protection from the sun. Anyone can request an inspection, and if a lot of people do so they may feel obligated to inspect the park, which APHIS is required to do when there is evidence of a violation.
Thank you for your concern for Lolita.