Cruelty to Endangered Orca Nets Lawsuit Against Miami Seaquarium

Posted on July 20, 2015

ALDF, PETA, and Others Allege Park Violates the Endangered Species Act

For immediate release:

Megan Backus, ALDF
Jared Goodman, PETA

lolita-article-image-500pxKey Biscayne, Fla. — This morning, a coalition including the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), PETA, Orca Network, and Orca Network director Howard Garrett hit the Miami Seaquarium with a lawsuit contending that the facility’s imprisonment of suffering orca Lolita—currently held without the company of any others of her kind in a cramped tank with no protection from the harsh sun—constitutes a violation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Under the protection of the ESA—which Lolita was granted following a successful petition from the coalition—her imprisonment and forced performances constitute an unlawful “take,” meaning that she is being harmed, harassed, or wounded.

“Lolita is protected by the Endangered Species Act and deserves to live a life free of harassment, in which she can engage in natural behaviors,” said Stephen Wells, ALDF Executive Director. “We will continue to fight to win her protections under the law.”

“Decades of abuse, miserable confinement, and chronic deprivation have cost Lolita everything natural and important to her,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA is taking action now to ensure that the Miami Seaquarium is held accountable for her suffering, and we will continue to push for her relocation to a seaside sanctuary.”

Since 1970, Lolita has been unable to swim more than a few yards of the 100 miles a day she might cover in the wild. Lolita’s tiny tank offers no protection from the sun—which, according to a former caretaker, has caused her skin to crack and bleed. PETA, ALDF, Orca Network, and countless concerned advocates have pushed for years for Lolita to be retired from performing and transferred to a seaside sanctuary that’s waiting for her in her home waters off Washington’s San Juan Islands, where she could interact with her family pod. In the wild, Southern Resident orcas often spend their entire lives with their mothers. Lolita appeared to recognize her pod’s calls decades after being captured, and the orca believed to be her mother—who’s estimated to be about 86 years old—is still thriving.

35 thoughts on “Cruelty to Endangered Orca Nets Lawsuit Against Miami Seaquarium

  1. Adele Zierler says:

    Yes, it is important that Lola should be moved instantly to the sanctuary. If a human is asked to perform, jumping, doing various tricks at the age of 88 it would be difficult for them, and they can refuse, because they can speak. Orcas/animals can not.It is outrageous to even consider to have Lola stay one more day longer in this horrible environment. What are they waiting for?

    1. I truly believe that Lolita should be taken out of the Seaquarium and sent to a sanctuary so that she can reunite with her family. she is being cruely confined to a smaill tank and she should have all the protections that all other endangered species have under the ESA.

  2. Rita Clonts says:

    One Thought: FREE LOLITA. Finally. She deserves the best we’ve got—not the torture of captivity she’s lived through for over 40 yrs. Free this intelligent sentient cetacean now.

  3. Holly Oberly says:

    Please close this !

  4. Holly Oberly says:

    Please close this and save the animals.

  5. It is long awaited event. When we are protesting at Miami SaQuarium we are under burning Florida sun. But we can seek for shade or go home in conditioned environment, or drive an air conditioned cars. Lolita doesn’t. She is in this inhumane and torturous environment in chlorinated water. It is shameful for our country. There are not so many people who worked since age of four for next 45 years! But she does. She more than deserves to be retired and paid for her retirement by people who made countless millions of dollars for her 45 years in the slavery!

  6. Gaynor says:

    #FreeLolita Poor baby girl. 45 years imprisoned in a tiny chlorinated illegal sized tank. PLEASE set her free and allow her the freedom she deserves to be with her family once again!

  7. Holly Brookman says:

    Let her live her life as she was meant to

  8. Bryn Martin says:

    FREE LOLITA! Her seapen awaits and she deserves freedom. Send her home and empty her small depressing tank forever.

    The world is watching more and more.

    Thank you!!

  9. Jane says:

    This poor lonely and abused orca needs protection ASAP! Close this ‘exhibit’ and give Lolita the respect and dignity and love from humans and other’s her own species that she deserves. Please stop this cruelty immediately. Thank you.

  10. Sara Hamilton says:

    I still remain stunned to this day on how we as human beings are still confining animals such as Lolita too a tiny chlorinated pool. I have no idea how the owners of this buisiness who have the power to free her can leave her in there and let her suffer. It is cruel and inhumane. Show her some respect for all the time she has given and all the money she has made you. Let her live out the rest of her time in peace back where she belongs. Please

  11. Valerie Brown says:

    this is Long Overdue
    Watch BLACK FISH. It’s a detailed documentary about the horror of being a Whale in captivity

  12. Tressa says:

    Set them all free!!

  13. Pamela Richardson says:

    Unspeakable. Release her.

  14. Lisa Fleming says:

    How do you sleep at night…

  15. Eva sosa says:

    This is outrageous and governments shouldn’t allow it. Let’s give animals their rights for once and for all.

  16. jane taylor says:

    Free her!!!!!!

  17. TERESA says:


  18. john manion says:

    Her life was meant to be free. Not to be isolated and held captive for all of her life.

  19. Josephine Taylor says:

    Please let the whale retire and enjoy what’s left of her life

  20. Robert Joros says:

    is this really something you need to talk about? These animals are shown repeatedly that have emotions and feelings and what you are doing,you are doing because this and all animals have no voice….if they did we wouldn’t be doing this. Humans need to evolve….and simple humane decisions like this show we are not….do the right thing. LET HER GO AS WELL AS ALL THE OTHER ANIMALS THAT ARE IN CAPTIVITY THAT SHOULDNT BE.

  21. Kathleen Buchanan says:

    Lolita’s tank mate Hugo was driven to the point of committing suicide. In March, 1980, according the National Marine Fisheries Service Marine Mammal Inventory Report, Hugo died of a brain aneurysm, which means a massive hemorrhage from BASHING HIS HEAD AGAINST THE WALL OF THE TANK. Since that time Lolita has been by herself, for 35 years Lolita has suffer being in a tank that is illegally too small for her, and totally by herself. Hugo’s confinement killed him, he just couldn’t handle it anymore.
    Please save her.

  22. Marilyn King says:

    I feel ashamed to be a human when I see how much misery we can be responsible for. Please set this poor girl free; hasn’t she suffered for far too long already?

  23. Nancy Bissell says:

    Please bring Lolita back to the Northwest where she is from and where she can live in a cove designed for her care.

    How can anyone believe this intelligent beautiful creature created by God should live in a fish bowl.

    Do what is right and bring her home. She will have many years to swim in the Salish Sea, smell the sea spray, live in the waves and be near her own family.

  24. Lillith Lascoue says:

    This beautiful mammal belongs in the ocean not in your possession like a toy. Who are you to decide her fate? You have stolen her freedom for your amusement and profit. How would you like to be imprisoned and forced to perform tricks for people? You have no soul! You will one day answer to God for your cruelty.

  25. Julie Tidball says:

    You people disgust me. You torture animals

  26. linda satter says:

    no more cruelty

  27. Iris Owens says:

    How can this happen. How can humans be so cruel!!! Whales belong in the ocean. Please let this beautiful mammal live the last years of her life in peace and comfort. The people who are responsible for this cruelty should be ashamed of themselves. Also, the people who are responsible for making sure animals are not treated this way should also be ashamed of themselves.

  28. Theresia says:

    Please safe all animals in the world if you could I try become vegetarian

  29. Jyl says:

    This lawsuit MUST, it MUST be won for Lolita and ALL the suffering marine mammals in captivity, zoo-enclosed animals, wild animals in captivity and animals used for research. WHEN will we become decent humans? When we start treating animals as animals and not as a source of entertainment.

  30. Susan hodges says:

    So sad this has to go to court for the right thing to be done. Am so disgusted at abuse from humans to animals. So tired of this attitude that you own animals. Wrong. They all need protection.

  31. jan says:

    shut these prisons

  32. Molly Morgan says:

    I hope that with social media awareness, that this will
    One day soon stop the cruelty!!


    Please return this wonderful creature to her natural habitat.You have taken ENOUGH of her LIFE,let her live out what is left of it with her family ,it is the RIGHT thing to do.

  34. Sonnie says:

    I wish people can see the truth behind this entertainment shows and boycott these parks. Hit them where it hurts the most.

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