Free Orcas Forever
Our First Initiative
Lolita, also known as Sk'aliCh'elh-tenaut and Tokitae
Lolita in 2011. Leonardo DaSilva/Flickr Creative Commons
Our initial efforts are focused on Lolita, an orca that has been in captivity for 50 years at the Miami Seaquarium. She is also the oldest living orca in captivity and is in the smallest tank in the world.
The Penn Cove Orca Captures
Orcas being captured at Penn Cove in August 1970. Photo by Dr. Terrell C. Newby, Ph.D.
On August 8th, 1970, more than 80 orcas were rounded up and captured in Penn Cove, Washington. Lolita and six other orcas from that capture were members of the Southern Resident pods and were taken to marine parks around the world. She is the only surviving orca from the Penn Cove capture because all of the other orcas taken died within five years. Southern Resident Orcas are now listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
A diagram of Lolita's tank via savelolita.org.
Lolita's tank is the oldest and smallest in the world, and has no covering for her protection from the sun. Sadly, the lack of shade causes her skin to burn. Lolita is 22 feet long and her pool is only 20 feet deep. She cannot dive a full body’s length to cool or protect herself from the weather conditions.
Zero Captivity brings a call to action to move captive orca into ocean sanctuaries. To help bring awareness and support we have written a children’s watercolor book entitled Still Water. The reader will experience Lolita’s journey of being taken from her family and brought to a life of captivity. Her story stirs your compassion for beings in captivity and opens the clear message of why we do not support it.
Ken Balcomb, of the Center for Whale Research and Howard Garrett of the Orca Network have devised a plan to retire Lolita to her home waters of Washington state. You can view the full plan here.
We believe that through represented evidence, Lolita would recognize her family. Her mother is still alive and is frequently seen. We have a responsibility to return Lolita home. We stand firmly that captivity for human entertainment is wrong. We invite you to join us as we continue to bring awareness and fight for her freedom. Please also consider taking action and signing our pledge.