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Free Lolita Update 91

Lolita Update #91
Celebrities Unite for Lolita
January 5, 2008

Celebrities Unite to Free Whale Confined to Years of Solitary Confinement

(Webmaster Note: Page no longer exists but full article is below)

What am I doing here?

Celebrities from all facets of the entertainment industry pool together to fight for the release of a captive L pod orca named Lolita.

Posted on Thursday, January 03, 2008 - 06:03 PM

Actors, producers, singers and philanthropists have volunteered as spokespersons for the campaign to release of Lolita from the Miami Seaquarium to her native habitat in the Pacific Northwest after 37 years of captivity.

The list of celebrities and philanthropists for Lolita includes Johnny Depp, Hayden Panettiere, Lindsay Lohan, 50 Cent, Jean Claude Van Damme, Raul Julia-Levy, Bokeem Woodbine, Harrison Ford, Paul Rubio, Damon Whitaker, Robert Downey Jr., Jonathon Silverman, Jennifer Finnigan, Billy Zane, Bob Barker, Francesco Quinn, Gladys Portugal, Joan Fontaine, Mekhi Phifer, Mike Amato, Sticky Fingaz, The Game and Truth Hurts. Prominent producers who support Lolita's release are Ed Elbert and Jonathan Sanger, along with director Isaac Florentine.

Leading the campaign to free Lolita are the co-founders of Orca Network, Howard Garrett and Susan Berta, and philanthropist Raul Julia-Levy. Garrett has drafted a proposal for the safe retirement of the captive orca whale and has submitted it to the Miami Seaquarium where Lolita currently lives in a confined man-made pool that is not as deep as her body's length.

When Julia-Levy heard of Lolita's plight, he contacted Garrett to lend his support by rallying the celebrities for her release.

"Lolita's already made her captives millions of dollars. How much is enough. Greediness has its limits and it is time Lolita goes back to her family," said Julia-Levy. "We need to make Lolita's voice heard," Julia-Levy pleaded.

Executive director and research biologist for the Center for Whale Research, Kenneth Balcomb, mirrored Julia-Levy's sentiments. Balcomb said, "Lolita deserves to retire in her home waters. She's made millions for the marine park. It's past time she had a chance to retire and enjoy the rest of her life."

In a letter to supporters of Lolita's release, Garrett explains Lolita's history and describes the distinct culture and complex languages of orca whales. The letter also addresses the fact that although Lolita has lived in captivity for 37 years, she will be able to recognize her family and will remember her lifelong membership as a Southern Resident orca.

Lolita is still amazingly healthy. Photo by Sean Jacobs.


Responses or inquiries are welcome. Please contact Orca Network Here.
Ways of Whales workshop
Saturday, January 19, 2008
9 am - 4 pm
Coupeville Middle School Performing Arts Center
501 S. Main St, Coupeville
Whidbey Island, WA

Join Orca Network for a day of learning about the wonders of Pacific Northwest whales - who they are, what they eat, threats to their habitat and health, and more.

Mark your calendar now, and don't miss this opportunity to hear from the region's best experts on our fascinating finned friends. Educational displays and materials will be available throughout the day as well. If you are part of an environmental organization and would like to bring a display, please contact Orca Network to reserve space.

This annual workshop has become a favorite regional gathering of whale experts and those who want to learn more about the whales. Are you a naturalist, researcher, educator, or someone who thrills at seeing whales and wants to know more about the amazing finned friends that frequent our shorelines? Then this workshop is for you!

Our 2008 Ways of Whales Workshop features the most recent and interesting research on Southern Resident orcas, but will also include wonderful photos and stories about the whales, how they relate to each other, and how they are much like us in many ways.

Candice Emmons, Research Fisheries Biologist with NOAA Fisheries NWFSC, will give a presentation summarizing the recent research being conducted on Southern Resident orcas as part of NOAA's Orca Recovery Plan. Her talk will discuss the different approaches used to find the whales and track where and what they have been feeding on, including acoustic calls and dialects recorded from hydrophones and during research cruises; prey and diet studies; and the recent findings on the increasing levels of PBDE's (fire retardants) in orcas.

Dr. Terrell Newby will share stories of his experiences as a pioneering researcher of marine mammals in Washington State and Alaska, and his experience as a biologist hired during the Penn Cove orca capture in 1970. Dr. Newby conducted research on the Southern Resident orca population in the early 1970's, as well as investigations into the effects of PCB's on Harbor seals and studies on Dall's porpoise in the North Pacific and Bering Sea. His unique experiences and memories of the captures, and his perspective on the effects of the removal of entire age classes and toxic contamination of Orca over the years offer much insight into the troubles faced by the Southern Resident orcas today.

Dr. Stephen Raverty, renowned veterinary pathologist with the Animal Health Center, B.C. Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Fisheries in Canada, will discuss Epidemiologic and Pathologic Findings of Killer Whales Stranded Worldwide, 1944-2005,giving an overview of approximately 230 stranded killer whales stranded worldwide and a summary of findings in 40 cases between 1973 and 2000.

Howard Garrett of Orca Network will present a slide show of beautiful orca photos and stories, to help us all get to know the Southern Resident orcas up close and personal, and understand why we love them so much, and why this unique community of orcas is worth saving. He will also give an update on how the Southern Resident population has fared over the past year - births, deaths, and hopes and fears for the future of this fragile and endangered community of orcas.

This workshop is made possible through a grant from the NOAA Fisheries NW Region.

Cost of the workshop is $20. Lunch is available on-site for $7 (pre-registration required to receive lunch).

More information & registration online at: (Webmaster note: Page no longer exists as it was as has been updated since 2008)

or by contacting Orca Network at 360-678-3451 or E-Mail
Susan Berta & Howard Garrett
Orca Network

Much is going on to help bring Lolita home and to inform and advocate for her and her family Please consider a tax-deductible contribution to help Orca Network continue this work by clicking HERE. Thank you!

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