TUESDAY TALK: MARCH 19, 7 PM

FREE LOLITA!
THE FIGHT TO BRING HER HOME CONTINUES
By Annette Wright

From 1964 to 1973 southern resident killer whales lost about one-half their population. Dozens were brutally captured and sold to marine parks. Lolita, also known as Tokitae, is the only one still alive. She has survived for 49 years–39 in isolation–at the Miami Seaquarium. Lolita performs tricks for 20 minutes, twice a day, seven days a week. She is held in a crumbling cement tank that barely contains her. Lolita’s captors say she is healthy, but medical records show she has received anti-depressants. Some who have seen her say she often seems listless.

Lolita was seized on August, 1970 during a particularly violent mass round-up of orcas at Penn Cove on Whidbey led to a nationwide outcry. Five died, older whales were let go, and seven juveniles were taken, including Lolita. Six years later Washington became the first state
to ban the capture of orcas from its waters.

Sandra Pollard, author of “Orcas In Captivity” has just written a moving history of Lolita’s life entitled “A Puget Sound Orca In Captivity: The Fight To Bring Lolita Home.” She dismisses the Seaquarium’s claims that Lolita will not survive transport home and, even if she
does, Puget Sound waters can no longer support healthy orcas. Pollard explains the detailed plan to slowly acclimate Lolita back into the L pod by way of an unconfined natural sea water pen.

I think Lummi Councilman Fred Lane has the best rebuttal to the Seaquarium objections: “You know what? It’s better to die at home with your family than die in captivity.” Pollard will be at the Greater Hansville Community Center on March 19 at 7 p.m. for a Tuesday Talk. You’ll learn about the tragic life of Lolita and how you can help free her.