Solitary Orca Endures Elder Abuse at Miami Seaquarium

For over 50 years, Lolita (a.k.a. Tokitae, Toki, and Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut), an orca originally captured from the Southern Resident killer whale population, has been languishing as the only orca in a tiny tank at the Miami Seaquarium. She has survived due at least in part to caretakers who tried their best to keep her healthy (remarkably, her teeth are in good condition). However, in 2014, the locally owned facility was sold to Palace Entertainment, an international conglomerate. Since then, the training staff has almost completely turned over. In June 2021, a USDA inspection report, released publicly in September, described a horrific litany of abuses, including management ignoring veterinary advice, making Lolita perform tricks (at her advanced age) that resulted in a serious jaw injury, and feeding her spoiled fish that led to bloodwork showing inflammation. Her cramped living conditions have been trial enough, but now this management team has actively mistreated her and several other marine mammals under their care. AWI is pushing hard to have the relevant federal agencies mount a strong enforcement action against the Seaquarium. These regulatory infractions must be punished and Lolita’s golden years secured against any future abuse. 

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