The time has come to act NOW
for Lolita's freedom!
Several recent events strengthen the case for ending Lolita's solitary confinement in concrete, and reintroducing her back into her family's pod (L pod) in Puget Sound:
It CAN happen, and Lolita should be next!
Two lone orca calves of two years of age (Springer and Luna) have proven that orcas learn at a very young age to catch fish and survive on their own, even out of their known range.
- Keiko, the Free Willy whale, swam free after 22 years of captivity! He crossed the Atlantic Ocean on his own, a journey of nearly 1000 miles, arriving in Norway after 31 days, healthy and with a full stomach, proving he can feed on his own. He met and communicated with other whales, but sadly never found his family pod. That part will be easy for Lolita - her family is L pod, found in Puget Sound most of each year, and have been tracked by researchers for three decades.
- Lolita's family needs her! For conservation reasons, and for the survival of Lolita's extended family, the Southern Resident Community, Lolita needs to come home. She is still potentially young enough to bear a calf, and L pod is in dire need of reproductive aged females. The population of the Southern Resident community
has been damaged by the removal of 1/3 to 1/2 of the population during the 60s & 70s to feed the captive industry (all dead since 1987 except Lolita);
and by environmental factors which have been hard on the population in recent years.
Please help us convince decision-makers to allow Lolita to go home to a bay pen for retirement in her native waters, and be given a chance to rejoin her family.
National Marine Fisheries Service studies have concluded that life spans for orcas in captivity are less than half natural lifespans.
- Recordings of her vocalizations show that Lolita is a member of the Southern Resident community, the most intensively studied population of free-ranging whales. Scientists know exactly what pod she is from (L-25 sub-pod), as her family has been closely studied for over 25 years by the Center for Whale Research. Pod members are identified by their calls, which Lolita still uses 32 years after being separated from them.
- Both male and female offspring typically stay with their mothers their entire lives.
- In Lolita’s community female orcas can live well into their 80’s and beyond.
- Each orca family, worldwide, uses its own “language” which is never forgotten no matter how long an orca remains in captivity. To this day Lolita still calls out in her family’s unique calls.
- Orcas are possibly the most social mammals known to science. Family bonds are rarely broken.
- Orcas have no predators, and are rarely aggressive to one another.
- Orcas demonstrate extremely long memories, are bonded for life with family members, and are highly adaptable.
- Orcas, like all dolphins, have often been observed assisting family and community members, including sharing food when needed.
Lolita is healthy, we know exactly where her family is, researchers are always on-site to follow her movements once released, and we know she still speaks her family’s language.