The film follows Visser as she visits the Seaquarium. "It's not just a mission of passion, it's a mission of compassion," she says to the camera. "It's a tragically small tank."
Given a chance to speak with the Seaquarium's owner, Visser adds, "I'd say, ‘What where you thinking? You wouldn't treat your children that way. You wouldn't treat your dog that way."
As the film notes, the federal Animal Welfare Act mandates that orca tanks must be at least 48 feet in each direction. Lolita's tank is just 35 feet wide. Her story was also told in the 2003 feature documentary, "Lolita: Slave to Entertainment."
Lolita's tragic circumstances have inspired a worldwide movement to return her to her native waters. For years, the Orca Network has promoted a plan to retire the whale to a bay on San Juan Island and, perhaps, eventually reunite her with her family.
Last year, the Orca Network, Animal Legal Defense Fund, PETA and others petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to include Lolita with her Southern Resident Killer Whale community on the Endangered Species List, meaning she could not be kept in captivity. In January NMFS agreed, opening a 60-day public comment period, after which it has up to 18 months to make a decision.