Update: Killer whale Lolita left outside at Miami Seaquarium during Irma

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On a good day, without a Category 4 Hurricane looming in the forecast, Lolita’s tank at the Miami Seaquarium has been described as “woefully small.” A recent audit by the U.S. Department of Agriculture determined the tank may not even meet size requirements for the captive whale – restricting “her freedom of movement.” And to think that Lolita could have been unable to dive and escape any hazards expected by Hurricane Irma.

According to the Miami News Times, the 21-foot-long blackfish, Lolita the Orca, survived the ordeal despite having been abandoned in the tank that was less than four times her body length and barely covered by a flimsy tin roof.

“She should have been moved, no questions asked,” says former SeaWorld trainer, Dr. Jeffrey Ventre. “It was criminal animal negligence or animal cruelty.”

Ventre stated there were many potentially fatal injuries that could have happened during the storm including flying debris, blunt force trauma, stress, as well as contaminated water. What if the tank collapsed Ventre opined; Lolita could have been sliced, crushed or trapped. And then there was the storm surge to consider.

Drone footage captured by local orca activist Lincoln O’Barry, after the storm showed Lolita alive, swimming in murky waters. There have been criticisms of the video footage however, stating it was taken in the past – and is not a reflection of Sunday’s storm. Sadly, according to Ventre, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in charge of enforcing animal welfare laws, have made no moves to help Lolita. Her plight has been compared to a tied up dog left alone during the most frightful storm in Florida’s history.

For 47 years, Lolita has been held captive. The Dolphin Project, along with other local animal activist groups, have continuously advocated for Lolita’s retirement to a natural sea-pen; described as a more humane and safer option than her current cement water prison.

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Read previous story here.

Video posted by Miami Seaquarium of Lolita:

Robert Rose and Lolita are checking in to give you a Hurricane Irma update. Miami Seaquarium is currently assessing the impact of #HurricaneIrma and will post more updates as they are available. We continue to focus on the safety and welfare of our animals. We appreciate your concern and well wishes for our park and all those affected.

Posted by Miami Seaquarium on Tuesday, September 12, 2017

6 replies
  1. Sherry D Hadley says:

    Does anyone that runs this place give a damn about anything other than padding their wallets at the expense of an animal. How bout we trap you in a lemonade stand for the next hurricane and see how frightened you are…try caring about other living creatures…put the human back in humanity. Geez it makes me sick what some ppl will do for the Almighty dollar or simply because they haven’t the least bit of empathy for animals. They feel. You should not execute your power in a negative way over them. Karma is a bitch though, so buckle up bitches!

    • Nancy Raymond says:

      The almighty dollar rules over any form of humanity – this poor whale was put in severe danger by a bunch of egotistical uncaring aholes whose ONLY concern was for themselves. I HATE these places that imprison animals for financial gain being the top and ONLY priority. The Miami Seaquarium has proven itself to be as inhumane as SeaWorld – two of a kind.

  2. Cynthia Como says:

    Words,words,words….and after all of this nothing is being done? The federal government has inspected this situation and are not demanding or enforcing the law? Very typical of our federal government, ESPECIALLY THE USDA,which are a group of worthless,lazy bunch of uncaring assholes being paid with our tax dollars! When it was decided that the USDA would oversee our countries despicable puppy mills I thought I was going to have a freaking heart attack!!! I’m thinking this whole situation needs to be taken to a court of law because the federal law….The Federal Animal Welfare Act. Why does this not surprise me? If there is so much concern for this poor captive animal WHY IS NOBODY doing anything to help her? I knew before I read this post I was going to be upset and outraged……ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS!!!!! Quit with the words and DO SOMETHING for poor Lolita! OMG I HATE THESE KIND OF PLACES,ZOOS INCLUDED!

  3. ellen cottone says:

    its time to shut sea world down.you serve no purpose here your time has come. you are with out funds and we will not stand by while the health and well being of these captive marine animals suffer any more you are not able to care for them anymore their healt will fall quickly.
    sea world must be turned into an emergency shelter for all the abandoned animals left to fend, puppy mills and brutal backwoods illegal slaughter operations that will soon be revealed


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