Today, August 8 2017, marks the 47th anniversary of Lolita's capture.
On August 8, 1970, in the waters of the Puget Sound of Washington State, a pod of orcas were attacked and rounded up by a group of killer whale herders, led by Ted Griffiths and Don Goldsberry. In the Penn cove juvenille orcas were separated from their mothers, as the infants were candidates to be sold to aquariums. The adult orcas were released and free to leave. However, the adult pod would not leave their offspring and refused to swim free, vocalizing human-like cries, until the last baby was pulled out of the water, never to return again. One adult and four infant orcas were killed during this capture.
Four-year old Lolita was one of seven young whales sold to marine parks around the world. Tokitae, as she was originally named, was purchased by Seaquarium veterinarian Dr. Jesse White for $6,000. She arrived at the park on September 24, 1970.
Since her capture, Lolita has been kept in a 80x35x20 foot tank that violates the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service standards for size requirements. APHIS is an operating unit of the US Department of Agriculture.
Lolita’s pool doesn't meet AWA requirements to keep animals and unauthorised people out nor does it provide protection from abuse and harassment by the viewing public.
In addition, the tank has no shelter for Lolita to find reprieve from the blistering Miami sun. Orcas who are confined to tanks that have crystal-clear water and little to no shade often experience painful sunburns and blistering.
Lolita, is also suffering from various illnesses including: pterygium, frequently reoccurring infections, oral degradation, and mildly impaired kidney function.
She only lived with one orca and his name was Hugo*.At first, the they kept separate, but since they shared the same vocals, they would call each other. Soon Hugo was moved into Lolita's 80x35 x20 foot tank.
She and Hugo lived together for 10 years and conceived an unknown number of calves but none survived. In 1980, Hugo died in cause of suicide, he left Lolita as the lone orca.