Lolita the lonely orca has been living in an inordinately small tank for over 45 years at the Miami Seaquarium.  Animal rights activists have been fighting for her freedom for years, asserting that Lolita’s living conditions do not meet animal welfare standards set by the law under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), but the Miami Seaquarium has always refuted this. However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is finally agreeing with activists that Lolita’s tank may indeed be smaller than what is required by the law.

According to federal law, a captive orca must be given a tank that is at least twice the length of the animal. Lolita’s tank is round and has a concrete island in the center that prevents her from swimming from one side to the other. This partition makes the space Lolita is confined to smaller than required by the law.

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In the wild, orcas swim up to 100 miles a day, so for Lolita to not even be able to move twice the length of her body is absolutely unacceptable and inhumane.

Additionally, reports have shown Lolita is often placed with dolphins who scrape their teeth on her. Likely suffering from zoochosis, Lolita has been seen thrashing her body against the sides of the tank. Lolita is also given a plethora of drugs, including narcotics, steroids, hormones, antibiotics, antifungals, and antacids to treat ulcers – all to treat ailments directly caused by her life in captivity.

We hope the USDA’s statement that Lolita’s tank may be illegal finally helps move her to a seaside sanctuary where she can live the remainder of her life peacefully, and at last be able to SWIM like all orcas should.

The tanks will only be emptied once the demand for this type of “entertainment” ends, so please share this with your friends and family as a reminder why we should never support zoos and aquariums who exploit animals like Lolita.

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Image Source: Orca Network