Target: Miami Seaquarium CEO Arthur Hertz
Goal: Save a captive orca from daily abuse and torture
The killer whale now known as Lolita was captured off the coast of Washington state in 1970. Lolita has been held in captivity at the Miami Seaquarium, a for-profit oceanarium in southern Florida ever since. The conditions in which she has been forced to spend nearly 45 years can only be described as torture.
Lolita’s enclosure measures only 35 feet wide, which is 13 feet smaller than the bare minimum standard set by the U.S. Animal Welfare Act for an animal of Lolita’s size. In addition, the tank offers no protection from the sun or other elements, nor is there a backstage area. Lolita is forced to live every moment of her life in the shallow, exposed waters of her tiny enclosure, made to perform tricks for human amusement.
Lolita has been alone in this tank since 1980 when her mate, Hugo, died of a brain aneurysm believed to have been caused by his habit of deliberately slamming his head against the wall of the tank. To spend 45 years captive in a tiny enclosure is bad enough, but to be alone for the bulk of this time is truly torturous.
Legal attempts to liberate Lolita have proven unsuccessful thus far. Despite clear violations of the Animal Welfare Act, Lolita remains imprisoned. Activists continue to advocate for Lolita’s transfer to a sea pen in the San Juan Islands, but in the meantime if Miami Seaquarium wants to continue holding Lolita captive, they should be held responsible for at least providing her with the minimum legal standards of living.
Tell Miami Seaquarium that the conditions in which Lolita has been forced to live are unconscionable and unacceptable.
Dear Mr. Hertz,
For nearly 45 years, Lolita the orca has been held in captivity at your park. The tank Lolita occupies is only 35 feet wide, which is considerably smaller than the minimum humane guidelines set by the U.S. Animal Welfare Act, and the enclosure also affords her no protection from the sun or other elements. As if these living conditions were not already difficult to bear, the solitude Lolita faces is heartbreaking–she has faced the last 35 years of confinement alone following the death of her mate, Hugo, in 1980.
Despite attempts by numerous groups to return Lolita to open waters, she remains captive in her tiny enclosure, forced to perform twice daily for the amusement of park attendees. So long as you remain intent in keeping Lolita captive, it is your responsibility to provide her with at least the minimum legal standards of living.
We, the undersigned, demand that you choose one of two alternatives – either bring the conditions of Lolita’s confinement up to the standards set by U.S. law, or if you cannot afford to or are otherwise unwilling to do so, release her from the park.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Piotr Domaradzki via Wikipedia