Dear Friends of Lolita,
MSNBC posted the January 21 "Ecowatch" news report from WTVJ, NBC6 in Miami on the MSNBC national website and cable TV network. A video clip is included, complete with the inside educational performance by friends of Lolita.
She still calls out to her family.
Protestors urge Seaquarium to free Lolita the Orca
MIAMI, Jan. 21 For the past 30 years, animal activists have been fighting for Lolita the Orca's freedom, but the Miami Seaquarium says they won't let her go.
For the past 30 years, the Miami Seaquarium has been home to Lolita. She was captured off the Pacific Northwest when she was about 6 and since then she has lived here and been trained to perform in shows.
For years, animal rights groups have protested the holding tank for Lolita saying that it is too small and is unhealthy for the orca. They are worried about her health in captivity, demanding that the killer whale be returned to the wild.
Howard Garrett of the Orca Network says: "The problem is that it is inhumane to have them here; they live half their normal life span.
Though plans have been in the works for 15 years to get Lolita a bigger tank and the proper permits have been obtained, officials say that nothing has been done due to financial reasons. The slump in tourism has affected business at the Seaquarium, which in turn is holding up their plans to build a tank for the killer whale.
Maritza Arceo of Miami Seaquarium says: "Lolita has been here for three decades, and we have secured permits and plans are underway."
Inside the Miami Seaquarium, during one of Lolita's shows, protesters caused a commotion hoping to bring more attention to their cause. While they would ultimately like Lolita to be freed, in the meantime they want the Seaquarium to more forward with its plans to build a bigger tank for her.
Heather Lischin of the Animal Rights Foundation says: "Lolita is an extreme example of an animal being kept; she still calls out to her family."
Officials hope to be able to move forward with plans on building a bigger tank but cannot provide an exact date. However they have no plans to release Lolita, since they have no proof that she survive in the wild after living most of her life in captivity.
In other news:
$5 sticker could help pay for orca research
January 28, 2002 (Bellingham Daily Herald ) Legislators hope a $5 license plate sticker could fund research into the diminishing orca pods that spend the summer in the San Juan Islands.
Rep. Jeff Morris, D-Anacortes, has introduced a bill that would offer optional $5 orca stickers through the state Department of Licensing, and use the proceeds to fund competitive grants for scientists conducting orca research.
"The need for (orca) research funding is critical and the department is clearly interested in increasing funding and working with the federal government to increase research," Pozzanghera said.