Beloved Orca Lolita Has Died At Miami Seaquarium Before Being Returned Back To Her Ocean Home

It is with a heavy heart that WAN reports that southern resident orca Lolita, also known as Tokitae, has died.

The Miami Seaquarium stated in a Facebook post that she passed away from what was believed to be a renal condition after she had been showing “serious signs of discomfort” over the past two days.

This announcement is even more heartbreaking due to the fact that earlier this year, there were plans to finally return the beloved orca back to her ocean home.

WAN reported last February that Lolita had fallen gravely ill. The 56-year-old orca, who has been held captive for so-called “entertainment” for decades, was reportedly placed on 24-hour watch.

Lolita will be remembered by animal lovers around the world and her story will continue to be a prime example of why these intelligent beings should never be taken from the wild and forced to live a life in captivity.

Rest In Peace Lolita. May your spirit finally be free. 

March 30th: Animal advocates around the world are celebrating the incredible news of plans to relocate the beloved southern resident orca Lolita, also known as Tokitae, back to her ocean home.

Plans for Lolita’s future were announced at a news conference today held by the Miami Seaquarium, along with non-profit Friends of Lolita. The Miami Seaquarium, which recently came under the management of The Dolphin Company, has entered into a formal and binding agreement with Friends of Lolita, to bring to life the dream of returning Lolita to an ocean sanctuary. This extraordinary collaboration has the ability to change Lolita’s future, thanks to a generous contribution from philanthropist Jim Irsay, the owner and CEO of the Indianapolis Colts.

Eduardo Albor, CEO of The Dolphin Company; Pritam Singh, environmentalist, philanthropist, and co-founder of Friends of Lolita; and Jim Irsay will work together to make the relocation a reality.

As reported by WAN, last February, Lolita had fallen gravely ill. The 56-year-old orca, who has been held captive for so-called “entertainment” for decades, was reportedly placed on 24-hour watch. Now, over a year later, the news of her being relocated gives hope to us all.

Lolita’s heartbreaking life in captivity began on August 8th, 1970, in Penn Cove, Puget Sound, Washington, when she was horrifically stolen from her family pod in the Pacific Northwest. She was approximately four years old when she was kidnapped from the wild and has since had to endure a life of captivity in a small tank at the Miami Seaquarium.

“Finding a better future for Lolita is one of the reasons that motivated us to acquire the Miami Seaquarium. With the help of Jim Irsay and Pritam Singh, we are bringing the dream of returning Lolita to her home waters, closer than ever,” said Mr. Albor, CEO of The Dolphin Company, in a statement.

“I am excited to see that, regardless of different positions, we can make this extraordinary agreement happen based on mutual respect and confidence between all parties,” continued Mr. Albor. “Working with the same objective, many other organizations can achieve great things when both parties focus on common goals, rather than different views, and make feasible something that before was a hopeless dream by accepting each other as allies. We have the same goal and now the world will see that amazing things are possible when we listen and work together.”

“The story of Lolita the orca has been near and dear to my heart. I am proud—and enthusiastic—to play a role in finally returning Lolita to her native Pacific Northwest,” said Jim Irsay, Owner and CEO of the Indianapolis Colts.

“It is a sacred privilege to share in the mission of caring for and bringing home Lolita, our beloved one,” said Pritam Singh, Co-Founder of Friends of Lolita. “My thanks to all the team, particularly Eduardo Albor, Jim Irsay, and Raynell Morris, for all their efforts and support.”

Everyone involved will be working toward Lolita’s relocation in the next 18 to 24 months. Lolita will continue to receive round-the-clock care. Her most recent independent health and welfare assessment completed by Dr. Tom Reidarson, DVM DACZM, Dr. James McBain, DVM retired, and Dr. Stephanie Norman, DVM, Ph-D, indicated that her energy, appetite, and engagement in daily activities is becoming reasonably stable.

Orcas are sentient, social beings, who should not be held captive in a small tank for human entertainment. Let this be a reminder, that these beautiful animals deserve to stay in their ocean home with their family pods where they belong. We must continue to fight to protect and keep animals in the wild, so that no animal has to suffer the way Lolita has.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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