Dear Friends of Lolita,
You are all invited to join us to commemorate Lolita's capture in Penn Cove on Friday, August 8, 2003, 5-8 p.m. at the Captain Whidbey Inn Coupeville - Whidbey Island, WA. We'll be just a few hundred yards from the spot where Lolita was lifted from the water and torn away from her family. There will be Special Guest Speakers, a Waterside Ceremony, Gourmet Appetizers & Desserts, a Silent Auction and Displays Event Admission: $15
For directions or more information, contact Orca Network at: (360) 678-3451 or E-Mail
For information on overnight accommodations at the Captain Whidbey Inn, call (360) 678-4097.
All are also welcome to join weekly demonstrations for Lolita every Sunday at the Seaquarium. As Ric O'Barry put it, with each demo there is "new blood, new energy!" For directions or more information on the demonstrations, contact Tim Gorski at firstname.lastname@example.org
According to scientists who study the human brain, we tend to look at the world either with our hearts or our heads, through our emotions or our intellect. Either way you look at it, Lolita needs to return to her home waters in Washington State. If you want to feel the power of her story in an emotion-packed, visual experience, there is no better way than to see Lolita - Slave to Entertainment, the documentary produced this year by Tim Gorski. It won "Best Documentary" at the New Jersey International Film Festival, and "Best Feature Documentary" at the Newport Beach Film Festival. It will soon air nationally on Free Speech TV (www.freespeech.org
). To find future screenings of Lolita - Slave to Entertainment.
Here's what the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel (July 14, 2003) has to say about the film:
"Let's free Lolita!" one member from the audience shouted after a showing of the controversial documentary, Lolita: Slave to Entertainment
"The film, which premiered this weekend as part of the Fort Lauderdale Film Festival at Cinema Paradiso, gives an hourlong look at the killer whale's life and the ongoing movement to free her from the tank she now calls home.
"She's been stuck at the Seaquarium for 33 years," said the film's director, Timothy Gorski. "We want to educate the public. All they see is a happy whale doing tricks. Lolita has been taken away from her natural home and is forced to swim in circles."
"Activists kicked off their Lolita campaign after another captured orca, Keiko, star of the movie Free Willy, was freed from a Mexico City aquarium in 1998 and is now getting re-acquainted with the wild off the coast of Norway with the help of trainers.
"Activists want the same for Lolita; the Seaquarium says no way. Lolita supporters picket the park every Sunday, calling it the Miami "Seaprison."
(Go to www.miamiseaprison.com to see what they're talking about.)
"Seaquarium officials declined to be interviewed but offered a statement from the park's executive vice president and general manager, Andrew Hertz: "If she left now, there is no scientific evidence that she could survive in the open waters of the ocean."
This tired old claim can't stand the light of day, so, for those who like to carefully consider the facts, we've put together the real scientific evidence in a letter to Miami-Dade County Mayor Alex Penelas
. Show it to your scientist friends. It contains some new discoveries that very few people have heard of. This letter gives the straight facts of the matter. Here are some excerpts:
"At no point in such a reintroduction program is there any significant risk to Lolita, to other orcas, or to humans.
"Orcinus orca possesses capabilities not found in other animals, including other large mammal species, that when taken together indicate extreme social cohesion, highly developed memory retention and extraordinary adaptability. Lolita's ability to adapt to solitary life in such a small tank speaks volumes about her adaptive abilities. Re-adaptation back to her familiar surroundings would be a much easier adjustment.
"Recent recordings of Lolita have demonstrated that she has retained the use of her matrilineal dialect, unique to her family of birth, the L25 subpod of the Southern Resident orca community, despite her 33 years absence.
"Taken together, these three recent scientific developments strongly indicate that orcas, including Lolita, are aware of their cultural origins, retain cultural knowledge indefinitely (demonstrated by Lolita's use of her family's unique vocalizations), and are able to communicate information about their cultural identity to other individuals that share their vocal traditions. We now know that we are mistaken to lump orcas with other animals when estimating their knowledge, memories and capabilities.
"Trust, when reciprocated, seems to come easy for orcas.
"There is no evidence to support the assumption that Lolita has lost her ability to hunt for live fish.
"Considering these recent scientific advances, there is no further biological rationale for Lolita's continued captivity; only a financial justification. It is time for the scientific community and responsible public officials to speak up now for Lolita's return to her home waters, before it is too late.
Whether you feel an emotional connection to Lolita's sad situation, or you prefer an analytical, science-based approach, the right course of action is clear: Lolita must be allowed to return home.
The best news we've heard for a long time was that Springer, the 2-year-old lonely orphaned orca who hung around near Seattle for six months last year, was seen on July 9 along with her grandmother's family, just as she was when last seen on October 4, 2002. She's reunited and doing just fine. There's yet another clue that Lolita would know her family and could rejoin them sooner or later, if she's allowed to return to be with them.
We'll keep you posted!