The Miami Seaquarium is where Lolita is. Lolita was taken from Puget Sound in 1970 and brought to the Miami Seaquarium to join Hugo, a male killer whale who had been taken from the same pod a few years earlier. They spent 10 years together in a tank that is too small for even one orca until Hugo killed himself by bashing his head against the tank walls.
For 35 years, Lolita has not set eyes on another orca. She lives in a tank that is as deep as she is long (20 feet) and has very little shade. She, like other captives, is in danger of acquiring mosquito-borne viruses due to spending so much time at the surface of the water - something that doesn't happen in the wild. Her mother, Ocean Sun, is still alive and swimming free in waters of the Pacific Northwest.
A small group of protesters organized by the Animal Activists Network gather every Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 2 p.m. to protest at the Miami Seaquarium. While on vacation in Naples, Florida, I figured this was a great time to join them. I drove over to Miami and arrived a few minutes before noon. I walked in to the Seaquarium's mostly empty parking lot, and saw a security guard in a golf cart. I was pretty sure she noticed my "Free Lolita" t-shirt. I decided to walk up to the ticket counter to see how much they were charging to get in ($45). I noticed this security guard had followed me up near the entrance. She said, in a voice loud enough for me to hear, "The Miami-Dade Police are hear already? Okay."
I saw another protester and went to join him on the sidewalk in front of the entrance. He informed me that because the parking lot was considered private property, I could have been arrested for trespassing. Imagine being arrested at my first protest before it even started!
At this point, the Miami-Dade Police Officer on duty approached us. He told us we could be as loud as we want, but his only request is that we not impede traffic. I was surprised how nice and supportive he was. I was prepared for some hostility but there was none. I don't know if he supports our cause, but he certainly supports our right to protest.
I picked up the sign "Honk for Whales" and found a shady spot in which to stand. I was determined to have drivers along the Rickenbacker Causeway honk to show their support!