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Free Lolita Update 135

Lolita Update #135
What we can do now
May 14, 2014

135 - POki0514scaled.

The Seaquarium has been sold

As many of you know the Miami Seaquarium, where L pod member Lolita has been held for the past 43 years, was sold last week to Palace Entertainment, which owns a wide variety of theme parks in many countries. At the same time the process is on track for Lolita to be included with her extended family, the Southern Resident Community, as a member of an endangered population under the Endangered Species Act, but that decision won't be final until probably late January, 2015, so until then Lolita is legally the property of whoever owns the Miami Seaquarium. There has been very little indication of the intentions of the new owners toward Lolita, but there are concerns they may try to send her to one of their parks in Europe.

Peggy Oki of the Origami Whales Project has prepared a guide for contacting Palace Entertainment to voice support for allowing Lolita to return to her natal habitat. Click here for info on Lolita's retirement plan.

CALL to ACTION & please "Share" for Lolita!

Palace Entertainment, a California-based amusement park company, has been authorized by Miami-Dade County Commission to purchase the Miami Seaquarium (MSQ), including the lone orca Lolita. This presents an opportunity to ask that Lolita be released back into the waters of her birth - a request that has been repeatedly denied by MSQ's current owners.

Lolita has suffered in the same barren tank at the Miami Seaquarium for over 43 years. She is about 46 years old, which is equivalent to human years, so she could have several decades of life remaining, IF she is able to return to her native habitat. She lives a solitary life, performing routine daily shows for tourists. Her tank is the smallest for an orca in North America, and is in violation of the Animal Welfare Act, but the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has yet to acknowledge these glaring discrepancies.

Lolita was captured from the waters of Washington State where her probable mother "Ocean Sun" and extended family (L-Pod) still live. L-Pod is a resident group of orcas which researchers have documented each year since 1973. The key factor standing between Lolita and her reunion with her pod has been refusal by the Miami Seaquarium owners to allow her retirement. Marine mammal experts have proposed a plan in which Lolita would be transferred to a coastal sea pen, and, once she regains her metabolic condition and re-learns the skills necessary for survival, she will be given the opportunity to rejoin her family in the wild. If Lolita is unable to rejoin her family after the years spent alone in a tank, she will be cared for and allowed to live as natural a life as possible.

At the Miami-Dade County Commission hearing to approve the sale, commissioners expressed concerns about Lolita. Commissioner Xavier Suarez asked, "is there something that can be contemplated [to help Lolita]?" Commissioner Barbara Jordan asked, "Is there a retirement program for whales?"

You Can Help Lolita!

Contact Palace Entertainment and ask that Lolita be released back into the waters of her birth. Please be courteous and concise, and simply express your wishes for Lolita in a positive way. We are not aware of the intentions of the company, so this is to acquaint the new owners with the groundswell of public opinion in favor of Lolita's return to her home waters.

Fernando Eiroa, President and CEO
c/o Palace Entertainment
4590 MacArthur Blvd., Suite 400
Newport Beach, CA 92660
Email: Fernando Eiroa

or use the online comment form

SAMPLE TEXT: (It's best to use your own words, and all are welcome to include any of the information provided in this announcement above. And please remember to be polite and positive for her freedom.):

I am writing in response to the recent announcement that Palace Entertainment has been authorized to purchase the Miami Seaquarium. I'm sure you are aware of the controversy surrounding Lolita, an orca at the Miami Seaquarium who for nearly 45 years has lived in a small concrete tank, without the company of another orca.

Lolita was captured from the waters of Washington State where her probable mother "Ocean Sun" and extended family (L-Pod) still live. Marine mammal experts have proposed a plan* in which Lolita would be transferred to a coastal sea pen, and, once she re-learns the skills necessary for survival, possibly rejoin her family in the wild.

I urge Palace Entertainment to allow Lolita to be rehabilitated and released into her native waters. Her release has a high likelihood of a successful reunion. Such a decision would bring tremendous positive publicity to your company!

SeaWorld attendance drops 13%

In news about the orca display industry, Sea World announced today that attendance for the first quarter of 2014 is 13% lower than the same period in 2013. That's 454,000 fewer people this year compared to last year. The decline in attendance has been steep and steady. SeaWorld said on Aug. 13, 2013, that attendance at its parks had dropped about 600,000 in the quarter that ended June 30 compared to the same period in 2012. The high-impact film Blackfish premiered at Sundance Film Festival in January 2013, was released in theaters in July, 2013, and was shown over 20 times on CNN later in the fall, then was distributed by Netflix. The film is now available in 51 countries worldwide.

Ominously, SeaWorld also announced today that "The Company recently entered into an exclusive six-month Memorandum of Understanding to assess the viability of a multi-park development in the Middle East with a partner who has an established track record of opening and operating world-class attractions, and to finalize the terms of the agreement. We have worked diligently with our partner to identify the best theme park concepts and potential locations in the region and are moving forward into the next stage of the project."

It appears that SeaWorld is now trying to outrun the "Blackfish Effect" by exporting the orca display business overseas. Russia, China and the Middle East are all on the verge of opening lavish new whale and dolphin entertainment facilities, using orcas captured from the northern coast of Russia. Our challenge seems to be to export Blackfish consciousness worldwide, to prevent further captures and more heartless incarceration of whales and dolphins.

Much is going on to help bring Lolita home and to inform and advocate for her and her family Please consider a tax-deductible contribution to help Orca Network continue this work by clicking HERE. Thank you!

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