Drone Footage Reveals The Loneliest Orca’s Tiny Tank
For 44 years, an orca named Lolita has been swimming around a small pool at the Miami Seaquarium - most of that time spent without the company of another whale. At just 35 feet across, the tank is the smallest of its kind in North America, and has often been the target of animal activists who call for her retirement to a sanctuary in a sea pen.
Now, Lolita's tank is under scrutiny again, thanks to Paul James, an animal activist who flew a drone over the park this week. The footage shows Lolita swimming around in her tank:
What the footage can't show is the depth of the pool - just 20 feet deep - the same distance as the length of Lolita's body.
Originally captured off the coast of Washington in 1970, the 7,000-pound whale lived with another wild-caught orca named Hugo until 1980, when he died after repeatedly smashing his head against the tank's wall.
After pressure from animal rights groups, the National Marine Fisheries Service proposed a rule to include Lolita in the protections afforded under the Endangered Species Act, just like her native population, the Southern Resident killer whales. According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, this could make it possible to move the whale out of her tiny tank and into a seaside sanctuary.
See the entire video below: