After 50 years in captivity, Lolita must be freed in accordance with a ban on the acquisitions of killer whales in marine parks.
Lolita, an orca that has been held in the Miami Seaquarium for 50 years, is awaiting release after France announced a ban on the breeding and acquisition of killer whales and dolphins in marine parks. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an animal rights advocacy organization, argues that because Parques Reunidos, the owner of the Miami Seaquarium and Marineland is in Antibes, France, the ban applies to both parks.
The ban allows for a transition period in which the killer whales being held captive must be sent to marine sanctuaries. PETA has therefore conducted a protest on Oct. 6 in which they fought for Lolita to also be sent to a sanctuary. During the protest, the organization walked with a chained and crying orca alongside model and influencer Natasha Araos to get their point across.
Previously, PETA has fought to have the Miami Seaquarium face charges for animal cruelty given the conditions in which they are holding Lolita. Lolita is being held in what is thought to be the smallest killer whale tank in the world, where she lives alone and cannot swim to great depths, shelter from the sun, or interact with other members of her species.
Under these same conditions, an orca whom Lolita previously shared the tank with, Hugo, died after banging her head against the wall repeatedly in 1980.
If you don’t understand the torture that Lolita is experiencing in captivity, consider the same frustration, loneliness, and isolation that people in the community felt when there was a stay-at-home order in the Miami. These feelings are amplified by the 50 years Lolita has spent in the tank with no release, and her suffering shows in the abnormal behavior that she is exhibiting.
Thus, PETA believes it is time to release Lolita and let her live freely, especially now that there is a ban against keeping these animals captive.
“Public opinion has turned against the confinement of orcas, who are very intelligent animals that swim great distances, and deprive them of any semblance of natural life, just to earn easy money," said executive vice president at PETA, Tracy Reiman.
“PETA is asking the Miami Seaquarium to end the decades of terrible torture it subjected Lolita to.”
On top of the protests, PETA also sent a letter to the new Parques Reunidos CEO, urging them to do what is right for Lolita.