Dear Friends of Lolita,
Here's some news and notes for the Holiday Season
- New baby born to "K-pod"
- New historic photos of "Hugo" at the Miami Seaquarium on our website
- Remember our Orca friends during your holiday giving
- Thanks to Washington Secretary of State, Friend of the whales (he also knows how to count election votes!)
Happy Birthday to K-32!
We're happy to announce the birth of a baby orca in Lolita's extended family. In early November a small subgroup of K pod was seen traveling with J pod, and alongside 15-year-old K16 (Opus) was her first known calf, given the scientific name K32. Mother and baby have been seen several times since that first report, apparently doing just fine.
J pod and K pod and at least some members of L pod have been cruising Puget Sound just off Seattle for much of the past month, even down as far as Olympia. At this time of year large runs of chum salmon and other species are streaming into hundreds of creeks and rivers in the south Sound. As they mill about preparing for the perilous journey upstream and adapting to fresh water, they present a smorgasbord of tasty treats for resident orcas.
"Hugo" photos now on the web
We have just received some amazing photos taken 21 years ago of Hugo, the young male orca captured from Lolita's family about 18 months before Lolita was captured. He lived until 1980 when he was approximately 15 years old.
Remember and support your Orca friends this holiday season
As we approach the end of the year and holiday season, we ask you to please keep our orca friends in mind as you make up your gift and giving lists. For your orca-loving friends and family, why not give a gift of beautiful orca calls? Visit our FreeLolita.net website, at http//www.freelolita.net/merch.html (Webmaster Note
: Links dead), where you can purchase unique gifts such as our cd or tape of orca calls, and "Free Lolita" T-shirts or bumper stickers. Or for those who already have enough "stuff", make a gift donation to Orca Conservancy or other whale organizations in their name. Those who love whales, and loathe getting yet another tie or fruitcake, would be thrilled to know that the gift they receive is an important and lasting one.
Orca Conservancy is a non-profit 501-c3 organization dedicated to providing education, conservation and research to help our orca neighbors. Your contributions, whether for a gift or for tax deduction purposes, will help fund projects such as
- Orca education programs for schools, community groups, and conferences
- The Free Lolita Campaign, or "Tokitae Project"
- San Juan Theodolite Study, assessing the impact of increased boat traffic on orcas
- Volunteer network to track whales in Puget Sound
- Publications and presentations on the interconnectedness between orcas, salmon, and our fresh and marine water ecosystems
- Multimedia and public outreach efforts
Efforts continue to turn the tide of public opinion and arrange for Lolita to return home to be with her family. We'll be following Keiko's progress as he is taken out on ocean "walks" beginning early in the spring to search for his family.
There is hope for Lolita, and for her family here in Puget Sound, if we all work together to right the wrongs we have committed in the past. It is time to let our orca neighbors know they are valued, loved, and cared for. The alternative is a future without the majestic, magnificent sight of those mighty dorsal fins plowing the waterways of Puget Sound, and this is not an alternative any of us wish to consider. Thank you for your continued support!
Thanks to Washington Secretary of State Ralph Munro, Friend of the Whales!
A huge gala event was recently held in Seattle to honor retiring Washington Secretary of State Ralph Munro, and it was no ordinary "political" event, as Ralph is no ordinary politician or person! Ralph is known as a most devout whale-lover, and was largely responsible for stopping orca captures in Puget Sound in the 1970's. Ralph and his wife Karen have continued their efforts to help the whales - both wild and captive, and we have been thrilled to have Ralph on the Board of Orca Conservancy for years. Ralph's love of orcas was reflected throughout the night of his party, from orca ice sculptures to "whale tales", and the announcement that the Washington State Parks & Recreation Commission has decided to name an overlook in the newly re-vamped Lime Kiln/Whale Watch Park on San Juan Island after Ralph, in honor of his dedication to the whales. What an honor, for a very honorable man! And even more honorable, but not surprising - we found out the next day that "L-pod" (Lolita's family) had been seen that same day in Elliott Bay, downtown Seattle, just a few blocks from where Ralph's event was held! Maybe they were swimming by with a special thank-you to Ralph for all he's done for Lolita & the whales??!!
Best wishes to all for the holidays and the coming new year. May the year 2001 bring freedom for Lolita, and good health and abundant salmon to her family here in Puget Sound. Thank you for keeping Lolita and her family in your thoughts and in your hearts, and for all your support and encouragement~