Hello Friends of Lolita,
There have been some big and positive developments in the past few months. Lolita's ESA status began officially (finally) on May 11, giving her new protections under a much stronger law. Meanwhile the USDA case wound down to a possible finish in the dismissal on June 16
, at the same time her protection under the ESA
comes into play
, along with other legal and economic developments. Mix in a rising chorus of voices worldwide and on the Seaquarium's doorstep, wanting an end to the business of confining whales and dolphins in tanks as entertainment attractions. It all adds up to some prospect of new realities leading to new decisions and directions along the corporate ladders throughout the marine mammal park industry, including the new owners of the Seaquarium, and therefore Lolita
. Please stay tuned.
The legal complexities needed to ultimately transport Lolita to her retirement center in Washington State, where she was born and raised, may have been hard to follow lately, so with many thanks to One Green Planet for providing a space to tell the story, here is quick summary of the situation up to now:
Lolita Might Have to Stay in Miami Seaquarium, but the Battle for Her Freedom is Hardly Over
Photo by Maureen Austin from her June 15 trip to see and document Lolita doing her show, chronicled here: Part 1: Miami Seaquarium & Visiting Toki - First glimpses, and Part 2: Miami Seaquarium & Visiting Toki- Looking her in the eye.
Lolita hasn't been in on the conference calls, but a whole team of lawyers has been hatching a long-term strategy to retire her to a seapen in her home waters for about five years so far, and they're making progress.
The struggle to return Lolita to her home and family has always seemed like a long shot, with the laws of the land, indifference by the responsible agencies, and consumer entertainment habits all holding her back. But in recent years media like Blackfish, plus increasing protests, petitions and letter-writing campaigns have brought widespread realization of the traumas and suffering of captivity, while Lolita's legal team has been applying courtroom leverage to correct the agency neglect that has held her there all these years.
-HG & SB, Orca Network