The New York Whale and Dolphin Action League


www.NY4Whales.org
PO Box 273, Yonkers, NY 10707
NY4Whales@earthlink.net
914-793-9186
A Project of Cetacean Society International

June 27, 2003

Dear Mayor Penelas:

This is a plea to free Tokitae, aka Lolita, from the Miami Seaquarium.

This whale was torn from her family at the age of 5 in the early days of Orca harvesting for aquarium display and entertainment purposes. The brutality inflicted upon the now endangered L Pod of the famous Puget Sound Orcas was subsequently banned in the United Sates as a violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Lolita has languished in an antiquated, sub-standard and illegally-sized leaking, chlorinated tank for over 33 years. Today she is alone, remaining listless when not forced to perform for her food. There are well-founded suspicions from within and without the Seaquarium that she is being given Prozac, yet the Miami Seaquarium refuses to release her medical records, which should be public information.

For those who believe Lolita could not "make it" in the wild, consider that just one year ago during a performance several concerned cetacean advocates including a marine scientist played a tape of the Puget Sound L pod and members of her family vocalizing. There could be no doubt that she recognized their call. Eyewitnesses remarked, "Lolita went NUTS!" The group also held up a sign which read, "Lolita, your family is calling you!" to inform the audience that her pod was alive and well and that in reality she still belongs to them. The group's equipment was confiscated and they were escorted out by security under threat of arrest.

Playing the tape of her pod to Lolita was an attempt to confirm to the Seaquarium and public what most marine biologist already know: cetaceans, which include Orcas, have a long memory, very strong family ties and intricate vocalizations that are recognized as a kind of language (or dialect) specific to each family or pod, and unmistakably understood by its members. That Lolita would "make it" in the wild is unquestioned. In fact, as her pod has been recently designated as endangered, her presence as a breeding female would help stabilize the population.

After earning her captors literally billions of dollars, isn't it time Lolita was allowed to return to her pod? Ken Balcomb, a marine biologist and whale researcher, has outlined a retirement and release program for her. The Miami Seaquarium would like nothing better than to sabotage any efforts at her release. They are not working for the well-being of their longest-running performer and killer whale. In fact, marine biologist who visit and witness the illegal-sized, decrepit facility assert that in those conditions she doesn't have a lot of time left.

The general public has become more and more aware of the plight of cetaceans in captivity. Orcas suffer incredibly throughout their lives when held in tiny concrete tanks. Artificial, chlorinated water is unhealthy for their skin and eyes; infections are common. Forced behaviors, such as jumping through hoops or giving humans "rides" only reinforces the concept that humans can dominate and control even the greatest of marine species. In order to achieve these orca "feats," food is withheld. This is not education. This is a perverse attempt to justify making a huge profit for this entertainment industry. So many people have told me personally that it is actually painful to observe these majestic Orcas (or belugas and dolphins for that matter) swimming in endless circles in a concrete tank. Orcas can swim more than 300 miles every day yet when trapped and controlled in concrete tanks, do not vocalize, can not echo-locate and do not use the complex language that defines them as one of the most intelligent of species on the planet.

Did you know there are dozens of chapters around the world, mostly in the US, where literally thousands of individuals are working on ways to bring about her planned retirement, and release back to the same pod-family that waits for her and so desperately needs her in Puget Sound?

Main Chapter
Hillcrest Elementary School,
Oak Harbor, Washington, USA

Chapter 106
Ennen's Food Store
Oak Harbor, Washington, USA

Chapter 113
Sagle School (3rd grade)
Sagle, Idaho, USA

Chapter 120
Lolita's Freedom Group
Nashua, New Hampshire, USA

Chapter 100
E. Olympia Elementary School,
Olympia, Washington, USA

Chapter 107
Grand Forks, Free Lolita Club
Grand Forks, British Columbia, Canada

Chapter 114
Sagle School (4th grade)
Sagle, Idaho, USA

Chapter 121
American School of the Hague (2nd chapter),
Wassenaar, Holland

Chapter 101
Coupeville Elementary School,
Coupeville, Washington, USA

Chapter 108
Loyd E. Auman Elementary School,
Fayetteville, North Carolina, USA

Chapter 115
Lucille Umbarger Elementary School,
Burlington, Washington, USA

Chapter 122
Beverly School for the Deaf
Beverly, Massachusetts, USA

Chapter 102
Langley Middle School
Langley, Washington, USA

Chapter 109
Noddin Elementary School
San Jose, California, USA

Chapter 116
Conway School,
Mount Vernon, Washington, USA

Chapter 123
Hilltop School,
Somersworth, New Hampshire, USA

Chapter 103
Brownie Troop #2252,
Berlin, New Hampshire, USA

Chapter 110
Andrews Elementary School,
Andrews, North Carolina, USA

Chapter 117
American School of the Hague,
Wassenaar, Holland

Chapter 124
Lake Stevens Middle School
Everett, Washington, USA

Chapter 104
Baker School
Milton, Massachuettes, USA

 

Chapter 111
Elise Johnson Elementary School,
Hanover Park, Illinois, USA

Chapter 118
Whatcom Day Academy
Bellingham, Washington, USA

Chapter 125
Schwartzkopf Elementary School,
Lutz, Florida, USA

Chapter 105
University of Queensland
Catton College, Toowoomba, Queensland, Austrailia

Chapter 112
Phoenix Children's School
Nashville, Tennessee, USA

 

Chapter 119
Guardian Angel Settlement
The Earth Angels
St. Louis, Missouri, USA

Chapter 126
Terry Flanagan and Students
Closilla, Dublin, Ireland

       

Chapter 127
Lile Ni Chonchiur and Students, Dublin, Ireland

Chapter 134
Campus Action for Animals, University of Central Florida,
Orlando, Florida, USA

Chapter 141
Crockett Elementary School,
Brentwood, Tennessee, USA

Chapter 148
Girl Scout Troop #107
Santa Rosa, California, USA

Chapter 128
Save Lolita Club
Warnen, New Hampshire, USA

Chapter 135
Breach for Freedom
Issaquah, Washington, USA

Chapter 142
Seales Elementary School
Brentwood, Tennessee, USA

Chapter 149
Brunswick Creative Critters 4-H Club,
Lodi, Ohio, USA

Chapter 129
La Petite Ecole Francaise de Sanite Lucie
St. Lucia, West Indies

Chapter 136
Conestoga School
Beaverton, Oregon, USA

 

Chapter 143
Nolensville Elementary School,
Nolensville, Tennessee, USA

Chapter 150
Tokitae's Spirit of Freedom
Bergen, Netherlands

Chapter 130
River City High School
Sacramento, California, USA

Chapter 137
Nancy Ryles School
Beaverton, Oregon, USA

Chapter 144
Lolita's Mates
Glasgow, Scotland, UK

Chapter 151
Touched by Tokitae
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Chapter 131
West View Elementary School,
Burlington, Washington, USA

Chapter 138
Hazelwood Earth Club, Hazelwood Elementary School,
Campbell, California, USA

Chapter 145
WWJD, Help Our Marine Life
Lodi, Ohio, USA

Chapter 152
Our Love for Lolita
Newport News, Virginia, USA

Chapter 132
The Montessori Academy
Brentwood, Tennessee, USA

Chapter 139
Ashley Green's Lolita Club
New Market, Maryland, USA

Chapter 146
Marine Mission
Miami, Florida, USA

Chapter 153
St. Matthias School
Chicago, Illinois, USA

Chapter 133
International School of Beijing
Beijing, China

Chapter 140
Killer Whale Club
Stanhope, New Jersey, USA

Chapter 147
Tokitae Taken Away
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Chapter 154
Orcas High School Ecology Club
Eastsound, Washington, USA

Chapter 155
Team Lolita
Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Please add your urgent support to the efforts to retire Lolita before she perishes in the Seaquarium. Help her 34 years of performance finally be rewarded properly; let us follow human morals, decency and respect and return this whale to her family and pod in Puget Sound. Enclosed please find petitions to free Lolita collected over just 2 days in the New York City area.

Thank you very much.

Taffy Williams, Director


The New York Whale and Dolphin Action League
PO Box 273, Yonkers, NY 10707 USA
Phone: 914-793-9186
Email: ny4whales@optonline.net
To subscribe send an email to ny4whales-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

A Project of Cetacean Society International

URL for this page: http://ny4whales.org/lolitaletter.html