For many years now advocates have been doing everything they can to retire Lolita the orca from the Miami Seaquarium. There have been countless protests, petitions and even offers to "Buy Back Lolita" from the Seaquarium so she could be free. Unfortunately the Miami Seaquarium was owned by the Hertz family for many years, who refused to give her up and laughed off suggestions that they act in Lolita's best interest.
In 2014 the Hertz family apparently changed their mind about Lolita being "family" to them and sold the Seaquarium along with Lolita to Palace Entertainment, a large corporation based in Spain. Many excellent organizations and well-respected folks sent letters and petitions to the new owner, Fernando Eiroa, CEO of Palace Entertainment to try and discuss a retirement plan for Lolita. So far, however, Palace Entertainment is just as stubborn as the Hertz family and has failed to respond to any communications or share their plans for the Miami Seaquarium or Lolita.
It seems the plan for Lolita remains the same: she will continue living in a small chlorinated pool, the smallest orca tank in North America in fact. She will continue to be slathered in sunblock despite it's unknown effects on orcas because Palace Entertainment has no interest in paying for a simple sun shade for her tank. She will continue to be sunburned because she is 20 feet long and her pool is 20 feet deep, making diving impossible. She will never see or communicate with another whale again and will continue to enjoy human interaction only when she is performing tricks in exchange for food. She will never see her mom again even though she is alive and well, swimming free in their home waters to this day. She will continue performing two shows a day until the day she dies.
We cannot let Lolita's story end this way.
She was ripped from her family and has given 45 years of her life to Miami Seaquarium - ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. On May 9th we will begin protesting at not just Miami Seaquarium but Palace Entertainment parks NATIONWIDE. We have dubbed this effort the Shut Down Palace campaign, a plan set into motion by Robin Jewell, director of the Miracle March for Lolita held last January. We will not rest until the whole world knows that Palace Entertainment and CEO Fernando Eiroa are holding Lolita, an endagered orca, hostage. She is suffering every day and Palace Entertainment sponsors that suffering. There is no reason for Lolita to continue suffering in these terrible conditions when the Orca Network has an excellent plan in place to retire her to a coastal sanctuary.
Lolita is an excellent candidate for retirement because she is physically strong, healthy and young enough to handle a transition. Female orcas have a life expectancy similar to that of humans, meaning that 49 year old Lolita has up to another 50 years of life ahead of her. Lolita's retirement plan is straightforward and safe. Miami Seaquarium staff familiar to Lolita would help prepare her for transport back to Washington state. Once there she would be lowered by crane into a floating seapen which would then be slowly towed to a protected cove in her home waters. She will be fed her usual diet and medically cared for and monitored 24/7. Once fully adapted and capable she can be released to her family or can choose to stay in the seapen with human care indefinitely. In her seapen Lolita would have the ability to swim miles, in a straight line, something she could never do at the Miami Seaquarium. She could feel the ocean tides again and communicate with her pod immediately. She could finally live free and happy with her family, exactly where she is meant to be!
Read Lolita's full retirement proposal here: http://www.orcanetwork.org/Main/index.php?categories_file=Retirement