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article imageOp-Ed: Haunting PSA pleads the case for action over killer whale Lolita

By Elizabeth Batt     Oct 5, 2012 in Environment
A newly released Public Service Announcement calling for the retirement of orca Lolita, is asking the public to back the killer whale's cause and transition her to an ocean sanctuary in the Pacific Northwest.
The PSA from Underdog Entertainment, is one more step in the fight to save Lolita, an orca originally named Tokitae.
Captured at Whidbey Island, Washington in 1970, Lolita was just four years old at capture, one of the first whales in a roundup that delivered orca for display in marine parks between 1965 and 1973.
The Penn Cove captures (1970).
The Penn Cove captures (1970).
Dr. Terry Newby
Today, Lolita is the last surviving orca of about 45 members of the Southern Resident community who underwent a brutal capture that saw several other orca perish. For the past 42 years, she has resided in a 35-foot tank (many say illegally-sized tank) at Miami Seaquarium in Florida.
The Orca Network, who Digital Journal first caught up with last August, have been campaigning since 1995 to have Lolita retired. The conservation group even proposed a plan to retire Lolita to a transitional ocean sanctuary in her native habitat in the Pacific Northwest.
Lolita has not seen another orca in more than 30 years said the Orca Network. Her once companion orca, Hugo, died after repeatedly hitting his head against the tank walls.
Several groups have taken up the effort to free Lolita and return her to her family. The Facebook group: Freedom for Lolita for example, says the orca "still speaks the dialect of her family, L pod, who are waiting for her return to the Pacific Northwest."
Lolita listening to her family’s calls in 1995  the only time she’s heard them since her capture...
Lolita listening to her family’s calls in 1995, the only time she’s heard them since her capture in 1970, shown on Dateline NBC.
Dateline NBC still shot. Courtesy The Orca Network
With the production of the new PSA, Save Lolita.org hopes to advance Tokitae's case in the court of public opinion.
The orca's graphic capture by a team using speedboats, airplanes and even explosives, can be seen in the video below.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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