Miami News

Billionaire's $20M plan to transport Lolita to her Pacific Ocean home gains momentum

Indy Colts owner and activist group collaborate to rescue Lolita after 53 years at Miami Seaquarium

In a notable effort to restore freedom to a beloved marine resident, billionaire philanthropist Jim Irsay, owner of the Indianapolis Colts, is leading a $20 million initiative to relocate Lolita, a magnificent 4-ton killer whale, from her enclosure at the Miami Seaquarium to her original Pacific Ocean habitat. After an amazing 53 years of captivating tourists, the massive endeavor aims to reunite Lolita, also known as Tokitae, with her pod in a 15-acre netted sanctuary in Puget Sound, Washington State.

More about the comprehensive plan and Lolita’s relocation is in the news below.

A journey of hope and liberation

To execute this epic endeavor, she would be carefully transferred from her glass tank at the Miami Seaquarium to the Seattle airport, covering an astounding distance of 2,700 miles. The 21-foot orca, weighing 8,000 pounds, will be loaded onto a cargo plane before being transported to the Salish Sea near the San Juan Islands.

This complex operation requires precise arrangements to ensure the safety and well-being of the marine giant throughout the entire journey. Over $500,000 has already been invested in life support systems essential for the trip, underlining the commitment and dedication behind this ambitious mission.

Lolita at Miami Seaquarium

A second chance for Lolita and company

Lolita's captivity in Miami, where she performed for audiences for over five decades, has rendered her incapable of hunting independently or swimming long distances. Her health issues led to her official retirement from the Seaquarium last March.

However, the dream is for Lolita to regain her natural abilities and thrive once again in the Pacific Ocean. Particularly, her hopeful relocation could potentially reunite her with her long-lost mother, offering a heartening reunion that symbolizes a second chance at life. Additionally, plans are underway to relocate Lii, a Pacific white-sided dolphin who shared an enclosure with Lolita, to keep her company in her new home.

Stay updated on this inspiring journey as Lolita's path to freedom unfolds. Subscribe to Calle Ocho News for more heartwarming stories and impactful news that resonate with our community's values and passions. Join us in celebrating this remarkable effort to restore a majestic creature to her natural habitat and witness the power of human determination in action.

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