Features Sep 30, 2015 at 4:00 am

The Story of a Puget Sound Killer Whale That's Been Held Captive in Florida for 45 Years

A new lawsuit alleges that the conditions of her captivity at Miami Seaquarium violate the Endangered Species Act. As of June 2015, trainers no longer swim with Lolita during performances. Marice Cohn Band/Miami Herald/MCT via Getty Images


OMG...going for a pulitzer? libwordy. Say your say, let the issue stand on it's own w/o givin' it the ol' Sally Struthers.
Thank you, Christopher, for this important piece. This short video of Lolita hearing her family's voices is compelling, and telling: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQcy_bgz…

I bookmarked this article to re-visit any time I make the mistake of thinking there is something redeeming about our species.
Nicely researched article, thanks. My mother swam with the first Shamu when the call went out that divers were needed to "walk" the stressed calves in the capture pens to keep them alive. It's incomprehensible now how Ted Griffin was seen as some kind of local hero in those days.
Thank you for this. It was a painful read but I'm glad I did.
So they are paying you by the word now...
So it sounds like the greatest atrocity in this article is not the physical and emotional abuse of an orca, but the word count?

That's a real nice batch of commenters you've got here, Slog.
Good read.
I can't quite believe that releasing her after all of these years would be a good idea, but certainly it's clear that the practice of keeping them captive should be coming to an end.
Christopher; great article! You've woven a lot in to tell this important story. good to see this in the Stranger.
Free Lolita, Tillikum, and all sea mammals held in captivity.
Great article, Christopher!
WA State will be be proposing a bill to ban Cetacean captivity (whale, dolphin, porpoise) 'FOR THE PURPOSE OF PERFORMANCE AND ENTERTAINMENT' this coming year. Please look for our Facebook page and watch for the bill proposal. It would be great to have the public's support and pass this important bill. We currently do NOT have any captive cetaceans in the State and this would prevent WA State from having any for 'the purpose of performance or entertainment' in the future.
This article makes the argument that Orcas don't live as long in captive settings as they do in the wild. This statement is actually false, according to NOAA officials. People need to understand the difference between life SPAN and life EXPECTANCY. The Stranger uses both terms interchangeably in this article and that's deceptive. The life SPAN of any organism points to the longest living individual on record. The longest living human being recorded was 122 years. That's a long time, but it's far from the human life EXPECTANCY which would be an average or median age at death. EXPECTANCY would be much lower, because this number might include things like infant mortality, the eldest individuals like "Granny" of 100+ years, and all those that fall in between. We'd never say that a human being had a horrible quality of life, because they died at age 70 (even though that age greatly falls short of the human life SPAN).

Southern resident orcas haven't been captured like this for 35 years, and they will likely never be captured for these purposes again. That's a good thing. Though it would be nice if people spent some of this "free lolita" effort at looking at the real problems facing our wild populations of southern resident orcas... Salmon stock depletion, dams, pollutants, sonic blast testing, climate change... I hope the Stranger will be able to devote some page space toward helping and empowering its readers to learn more about what they can do to help make a difference when it comes to those things that matter the most for Orcas today.

People always want to take other people's property from them. I say we turn the orca into a Hella Sushi Party. Cook that bitch up!

Fucking tree huggers. Worshiping a whale. It's weird.

Please wait...

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