More than 50 years after being captured in the waters off the Pacific Northwest, Lolita the orca has a plan to go home, thanks to an agreement that was negotiated between a theme park and an animal rights organisation.
The Miami Seaquarium, which recently came under the control of The Dolphin Company, and Friends of Lolita, a non-profit organisation that fought to make the dream of bringing Lolita back to an ocean sanctuary a reality, signed the deal. Animal rights activists and Indigenous leaders who have long advocated for her release hailed this agreement as a breakthrough.
The orca, also known as Lolita, was about four years old when she was caught in the summer of 1970 in Washington State's Puget Sound, during a period of lethal orca round-ups.
"It is a sacred privilege to share in the mission of caring for and bringing home Lolita, our beloved one," said Pritam Singh, Co-Founder of Friends of Lolita. "My thanks to all the team, particularly Eduardo Albor, Jim Irsay, and Raynell Morris, for all their efforts and support."
A news release by the Friends of Lolita stated that the impact of this first-ever, formal, and binding agreement demonstrates that different organizations that in the past might have worked against each other can successfully work together, proving that maintaining strong ethics and respect for the animals under their care means a better outcome for every animal.