On Friday, Lolita the killer whale died in Miami Seaquarium. The beloved orca was supposed to be released into the ocean and live out the rest of her life in freedom. Just two days before she passed, she showed signs of discomfort. The Seaquarium team and experts worked vigorously to try and save her but she eventually passed due to renal failure.
Toki, the Beloved Orca
Lolita, also known as Toki and Tokitae, was caught on August 8th, 1970. She was believed to have been around four years old. Soon after, Lolita was then sold to Seaquarium for $6,000 where she lived with another orca, Hugo. In 1980, Hugo died, leaving Lolita alone and without a partner.
For five decades Lolita the killer whale, swam inside her concrete, limited space, performing tricks for Seaquarium visitors. According to one of her trainers, she did not like change and worked many years with the same trainers.
After years of fighting with Lolita’s activists, Seaquarium agreed in March that they would release her. They worked with a nonprofit organization called Friends of Lolita to help the killer whale transition back into the ocean. Jim Irsay, CEO of NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, also gave a generous donation to help free the whale. Toki was supposed to have been released within 18-24 months after the press release. Sadly, she died before her day of freedom would come.
While activists all around the world are mourning her death, others believe she would have never made it in the wild. Toki spent five decades in captivity and any little change would disturb her. There are still fifty orcas held in captivity around the world. Twenty-nine of them were born in captivity and may never know of true freedom.
Do you believe that Lolita the killer whale would have made it in the wild? What are your thoughts on orcas still being in aquariums?