Lamentable Loss: Iconic Lolita Passes Away at 57 on Virginia Key

By | August 19, 2023

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death – Obituary News : Lolita, a beloved orca whale who had been held captive for over 50 years, tragically passed away on Friday at the Miami Seaquarium. The news of her death comes as caregivers were making preparations to move her from the theme park in the near future.

The Miami Seaquarium announced on social media that Lolita, also known as Tokitae or Toki, had been showing signs of serious discomfort over the past two days. The Seaquarium’s medical team, along with the support of Friends of Toki, immediately started aggressive treatment. However, despite their best efforts, the 57-year-old orca succumbed to an apparent renal condition.

The Seaquarium’s social media post expressed the impact Lolita had on those who had the privilege of knowing her. She served as an inspiration to all who heard her story and was particularly cherished by the Lummi nation, who considered her part of their family. The post concluded with a heartfelt tribute, stating that her beautiful spirit would forever be remembered by those who had spent time with her.

Animal rights activists have been tirelessly campaigning for years to secure Lolita’s freedom from the confines of her tank at the Miami Seaquarium. In March, a potential breakthrough came when the park’s new owner, The Dolphin Company, and the nonprofit organization Friends of Toki, announced a plan to relocate her to a natural sea pen in the Pacific Northwest. The plan received financial backing from Jim Irsay, the owner of the Indianapolis Colts.

However, some trainers expressed concerns about the relocation plan, deeming it too risky. Despite the ongoing discussions surrounding her potential release, Lolita’s sudden passing has left a void in the hearts of many.

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, who played a pivotal role in brokering the plan to move Lolita, expressed profound sadness at the news. She stated that the collective wish was to see Toki back in her native waters, and the sudden loss of Lolita has left the community heartbroken.

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Lolita retired from performing last spring as a condition of the Miami Seaquarium’s new exhibitor’s license with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Since then, she has not been publicly displayed. The park had recently made upgrades to improve the filtration system and regulate the water temperature in her pool, ensuring her well-being.

Any plan to move Lolita would have required approval from federal and state regulators, a process that could have taken several months or even years. Throughout her captivity, Lolita had been confined to a tank measuring 80 feet by 35 feet and was 20 feet deep, weighing approximately 5,000 pounds.

The loss of Lolita serves as a poignant reminder of the ongoing debate surrounding the captivity of marine animals and the need for improved regulations to ensure their welfare. It is hoped that her legacy will inspire further efforts to protect and preserve the natural habitat of these incredible creatures.

Note: KBI Reporter Tony Winton contributed to this story..

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