Lolita the Orca Whale May Finally be Set Free

Lolita (Toki), you may recall, is a killer whale who was captured in 1970, some 52 long years ago, and forced to exist in a small enclosure at the Miami Seaquarium, described as the smallest tank for captive killer whales in North America, to entertain humans. Animal welfare activists have been working for decades to get her set free. Now, it appears, that day may be finally coming.

A report from the USDA released last year criticized the Miami Seaquarium’s care of the animal, citing that she was fed less than the recommended amount and wasn’t taking in enough water.

The report also states:


“The AV also had concerns with the Training Curator dictating the incorporation of fast swims and big jumps into training sessions and shows for this geriatric whale. Toki’s bloodwork was abnormal and the AV believed these behaviors could result in over-exertion and Toki becoming winded, which was actually observed by both the senior trainer and the AV. The AV also diagnosed that Toki had hit her lower jaw, likely at the lower flume/bulkhead during fast swims. Toki’s medical records indicate an injury to her lower mandible on February 25th, March 10th, March 31st, April 6th, and 7th of 2021.”

The report’s findings, coupled with the fact that the facility’s new owners are open to possibly releasing the whale, have activists optimistic about Lolita’s eventual return to open waters.  If this happens, she could soon be reunited with her mother, a 93-year-old whale known as L25 or “Ocean Sun”, who reportedly still roams the waters near the Pacific Northwest’s Puget Sound.

Let’s hope Lolita is finally set free.