Dear Friends of Lolita,
The news clips are coming in fast these days...
~ For those of you in the Pacific Northwest, Lolita will be on the news tonight at 10 PM on Q13 News, Channel 13. We did a standup interview at the Capt. Whidbey Inn, the site of Lolita's capture in 1970.
~ The USDA says they have discretion to change the space requirements for orcas in captivity, and that if they are petitioned to do so, they will "respond accordingly." Although the formal comment period ended July 29, there is still a window open to let our opinions be heard. You can call Jim Rogers, USDA Public Affairs office, at 301-734-8563 to voice your judgement about how long, how wide and how deep any tank holding an orca should be. Currently the minimum depth is only 12 feet! Now is the time to use our communication skills, our political connections, and our deep feelings to act for Lolita. Your phone call could help arrange Lolita's ticket home.
~ The Captain Whidbey Inn will also be the site of a Commemorative Event to mark the anniversary of Lolita's capture. You are invited to join us Thursday, August 8, 2002, 5 - 8 p.m. at the Captain Whidbey Inn, Coupeville - Whidbey Island, WA.
~ The Animal Rights Foundation of Florida will be holding a demonstration at the Seaquarium also on August 8, from Noon to 2 PM. in 70's attire to symbolize how nothing has improved in Lolita s ill-fated life since her kidnap decades ago. If you can be in Miami, get out your bellbottoms and tie-dyed shirts or stop by your local thrift store or costume shop for plenty of reasonably-priced 70's apparel to sport outside the Seaquarium!
And in a related story...
Gates buys stake in Six Flags Inc. (owner of many captive dolphins and Shouka, the young female orca recently shipped to Ohio from France.)
August 2, 2002
The investment fund of Bill Gates, chairman of Redmond software maker Microsoft Corp., reported acquiring an 8.6 percent stake in Six Flags Inc. with about 8 million shares of the No. 2 amusement park operator. Cascade Investment LLC of Kirkland reported holding 7.4 million Six Flags common shares plus securities convertible into 599,520 more shares in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The investment in a recreational business is a departure for Gates. His fund, valued at $2.1 billion on March 31, is clustered in media, telecommunications, utilities, waste haulers, transportation and drugmakers.
~ Meanwhile...Argentina's whale won't be sent to Six Flags
August 2, 2002 (Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society) After months of campaigning, environmentalists in Argentina, the US and the UK can finally breathe a sigh of relief. The Wild Earth Foundation of Argentina, Earth Island Insititute of San Francisco and WDCS, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (three of the groups which have played an active role in the campaign), can confirm that a male orca (killer whale) known as 'Kshamenk', who is currently held in captivity at the Mundo Marino aquarium in Buenos Aires, Argentina, will not be exported to the US for public display
This whale was supposed to go to Six Flags of Ohio, but the Argentine CITES (Committee on International Trade in Endangered Species) denied the export permit because Kshamenk was captured under "questionable" circumstances (aren't they all?) and there was no clear ownership of the orca. NMFS had already issued a permit, a bit prematurely, since they are supposed to make sure the exporting country agrees first. So Bill has a little scandal on his hands already.
~Finally, some of you asked for a picture of the new Free Lolita T-shirt. You can find the fishbowl design, created by JaD Cousteau, at . Many thanks to JaD for creating and donating the artwork.