Speak Out for Better Protections for Captive Orcas!
Lolita is a solitary orca who has been confined to a tiny concrete tank at the Miami Seaquarium for more than 40 years. The Endangered Species Act (ESA) provides members of the wild Southern Resident orca population and other endangered animals with a host of protections, including protection against being harmed or harassed. Yet, despite being a member of the Southern Residents, Lolita has been denied all of these protections without any explanation by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).
The government’s failure to provide Lolita with the protections enjoyed by the wild members of her pod has enabled the Miami Seaquarium to keep her in conditions that violate the Endangered Species Act. Lolita must be granted the protections under federal law which she is rightfully due and which best ensure her survival and well-being, which—depending on her condition—could include transferring her to a sea pen in her home waters and releasing her back to her family pod.
In the wild, orcas live in tight family units with bonds that may last a lifetime. At Seaquarium, Lolita swims endless circles in a small, barren tank that does not comply with USDA regulations. This highly intelligent and social animal has been without an orca companion since 1980.
Sign ALDF's petition to the National Marine Fisheries Service, urging them to include captive members of Lolita's Southern Resident pod in ESA protections.
Lolita is an orca who has been living in a barren tank at the Miami Seaquarium for the past four decades. She has had no orca companions since 1980. She was captured in the wild in the 1970s, from the “Southern Resident” killer whale distinct population segment. Despite the fact that her pod is considered endangered and as such enjoys the protections of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS) has chosen to exempt the captive members of her species from ESA protections. NMFS has provided no reason for this regulatory exemption.
NMFS’ failure to provide Lolita with the protections enjoyed by the wild members of her pod has enabled the Miami Seaquarium to keep this highly intelligent and social animal in conditions that violate the Endangered Species Act. NMFS has clearly stated that the Endangered Species Act “applies to both wild and captive populations of a species.” I urge you to include captive members of Lolita’s Southern Resident pod in ESA protections provided to pod members living in the wild.