This is a repost from the original article at my website, orcamama.com. Additional pictures and videos are available on the full article post there. For reference, I refer to Lolita as Toki in the content of the article.
Finally, giving up my spot at the rail, I headed back up to my seat where the 20 minute presentation of propaganda and ridiculousness began. I did grab a short clip of the pool area as a whole before the show began.
Several of you have asked me if the new policy of trainers being out of the water had a big impact. Having not seen a show before this, (and I don't remember the content of the show I saw when I was 12) there was really nothing to compare it to so I am not sure I can truly answer the question. However, this seemed to be the general outline of the show- talk, talk, talks while Toki floated at best three times, performed a jumping behavior.
So then, of course, you have to open with a bang and they asked her to perform a leap, to which she did (because of course, she was probably hungry and just a compliant girl). And this, more than anything tells the whole story. Check out the pictures- at full extension, she is almost as big as that part of the tank. She is one smart, skilled animal. One wrong leap out point could mean disaster, as she has little room for error on her way back into the water. The spot she chose to come up and out was spot on and why wouldn't it be? She's been forced to do it for forty years. It struck me how it wasn't necessarily high, definitely not expressive as you see of orcas in the wild breaching. She knows the physical limits of her space and this behavior definitely reflected it.