Animal Advocates Urge Ochocinco to Go “Wild” for Orcas

Posted on August 22, 2013

For immediate release:

Lisa Franzetta, Animal Legal Defense Fund
Megan Backus, Animal Legal Defense Fund

SAN FRANCISCO—The national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and the Orca Network have reached out to Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson, urging the former NFL player to satisfy his obsession with orcas by visiting them in the natural habitat rather than tiny aquariums. Their letter comes on the heels of Johnson’s well-publicized visit to see Lolita, the orca held at the Miami Seaquarium.  ALDF and the Orca Network are currently engaged in multiple lawsuits to achieve better protections for Lolita, who swims alone in the smallest orca tank in the nation. Johnson, who was listed number one on CNBC’s list of “Most Influential Athletes in Social Media,” frequently tweets about his love of orcas. Says ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells, “The Animal Legal Defense Fund and the Orca Network are hoping that Mr. Johnson will use his sway in the Twittersphere to help whales like Lolita by speaking out against captivity, which causes them nothing but a lifetime of loneliness and suffering.” A copy of their letter follows.

August 21, 2013

Mr. Chad Johnson
c/o Mr. Robert Bailey

Dear Mr. Johnson,

Here at the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), we share your love and admiration for orcas. We have numerous campaigns to ensure their protection, whether they live in wild pods with their families or in captivity, like Lolita, whom you recently visited at the Miami Seaquarium.

ALDF and the Orca Network would love to arrange for a special whale watching trip for you to see Lolita’s family in the wild, off the coast of Washington state. Here, you would be able to see these beautiful animals in the natural environment where they thrive.

In the wild, orcas spend their entire lives with their mothers and family bonds last a lifetime. At more than 80 years old, Lolita’s mother still swims in a protected seaside sanctuary in their home waters, waiting for Lolita’s return.

But because she brings in profit, Lolita instead swims tiny circles in a shallow and barren cement tank that doesn’t meet the minimum requirements of the Animal Welfare Act. Constantly exposed to the burning Miami sun and tropical storms, Lolita has been without an orca companion for three decades. That’s why ALDF and the Orca Network are suing for better protections for Lolita—with the hope of ultimately returning her to the spacious waters she was taken from over forty years ago.

Your passion for orcas can be a powerful force to help speak out against unnatural captivity for these majestic animals. Contact us to discuss a special trip to see Lolita’s family in the wild, and other ways you might help ensure a better life for her and for orcas everywhere.


Stephen Wells, Executive Director
Animal Legal Defense Fund

Howard Garrett, Co-Founder
Orca Network

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