Having been personally involved in the campaign to end the keeping of dolphins and whales in captivity worldwide for over two decades I have been very encouraged by the depth of public feeling which appears to be growing year on year on the issue.
One such case is Lolita, the orca who has been held in captivity since being captured from the wild in Penn Cove in 1970. Lolita has had to endure being held in a tank at Miami Seaquarium which, even by US authority standards, does not meet the criteria for keeping orca, and is therefore illegal. As a member of the Southern Resident Community of orcas, Lolita is recognised as endangered, yes still Miami Seaquarium will not allow her the opportunity to retire.
Lolita’s mother is still alive in the wild, living within the same family pod that Lolita was captured from all those years ago. I sincerely believe it is time she was given the opportunity to retire to a more natural environment, near her home waters, where she may again hear her family calls and feel the natural ocean rhythms and sun on her back.
Arle Capital manage a portfolio of investments for their clients, Candor Investments, which includes Miami Seaquarium and they are based in London, UK. Although the country has not had any captive cetacean facilities for many years, sadly we still have links to this horrendous industry. On 1 April, a peaceful protest took place outside the offices of Arle Capital in Charles II Street, London asking them to consider retirement plans for Lolita. A simultaneous protest also took place outside the Miami Seaquarium where Lolita is still held.
Marine Connection has, in association with Orca Network, approached Arle Capital asking them to open dialogue with both organisations to discuss the possibility of retirement for Lolita. To date, we have not received a response, however we will continue to approach the company in the hope that they will listen to the opinion of the general public, marine mammal scientists and NGOs. Lolita has been performing, making money for her captors for almost 46 years, we believe it is now time to allow her to go home.