A great day to wear my Cowichan-knit sweater with the orca design. It’s practically an antique now! Cool but did not rain. 29 letters signed to Arle Capital asking that uber- corporation to urge their subsidiary Parques Reunidos to urge Palace Entertainment ( the lesser corporation, a subsidiary of Parques Reunidos that owns the Miami Seaquarium) to retire Lolita Tokitae to a sea pen in the San Juans where her family still swims, using Orca Network’s safe and realistic plan. Thank you for taking the time, all those who stopped to read and sign.
Feel free to use it yourself!
Sir George Buckley
Chairman, Arle Capital Partners Ltd
12 Charles II Street
London SW1Y 4QU
Re: Parques Reunidos/ Palace Entertainment: Retire Lolita Tokitae to a sea pen in her home waters
Dear Sir George,
I am writing from the coast of Lolita Tokitae’s home waters on a date near the 46th year of her captivity in the Miami Seaquarium. Her tank is barren and substandard. I urge Arle Capital to intervene on Lolita Tokitae’s behalf with Parques Reunidos / Palace Entertainment to allow Lolita to be retired, and returned to a sea pen in her home waters where her mother, Ocean Sun (L25) of L pod of the Southern Residents, still swims, along with Lolita’s extended family, all of whom have been designated under the Endangered Species Act in 2005. On May 11, 2015 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (US) recognized Lolita as a member of the Southern Resident orca population, and thus endangered as well.
Lolita Tokitae was captured August 8,1970 as part of the Penn Cove Roundup / Massacre from the waters of the San Juan Islands. Her family unit, L-Pod, is a resident fish-eating group of orcas which researchers have documented extensively since 1973. Granny (J2) of J pod, part of the Southern Resident pods (J, K and L) is 104 this year. Lolita is about 48 years old, which is equivalent to human years, so she could have several decades of life remaining, If she is able to return to her native habitat. In the Miami Seaquarium’s tiny tank – not as deep as she is long – she lives a solitary life, performing what must be by now mindless routines daily for a dead fish reward, to entertain tourists who are not all yet aware of the level of cognitive complexity of orcas, though that awareness is growing.
She has endured the tragic suicide of her one-time companion Hugo (an orca also from her home waters, likely a relative with whom she could communicate) who bashed his head into the tank walls more than 30 years ago, in his teen years. She has been without the company of another orca for most of her years of performing at the Miami Seaquarium, although orcas are noted for their lifelong social and family connections.
Return to a sea pen off Orcas Island with human support for as long as she needs is supported by a safe and feasible plan developed by orca experts on staff at Orca Network who have worked with other leaders in the field. Once she regains her physical condition and strength and re-learns the skills necessary for survival, she would be given the opportunity to rejoin her family in the wild. She has not forgotten her family’s language and dialect. If she is unable to rejoin her family after the years spent alone in a tank, she will be cared for and allowed to live as natural a life as possible.
There is no significant risk to Lolita Tokitae in any stage of Orca Network’s proposal for Lolita’s retirement in her home. Remaining in captivity will result in continuing mental and physical stresses and related health issues.
A thorough examination will be conducted by a team of veterinarians and pathologists prior to transport to detect any potential communicable diseases. Assuming there are not, there will be no significant risk to any members of the Southern Resident Community as a result of Lolita Tokitae’s return to her home waters.
Parques Reunidos / Palace Entertainment has an opportunity to be on the right side of history by replacing cruel orca captivity with CGI / virtual reality encounters technology as a truly educational alternative. This decision would bring tremendous positive publicity to the Miami Seaquarium and Palace Entertainment.
I’ve included my return address. Please reply and let me know what you are going to do to get Lolita Tokitae home to the Salish Sea.
Many orca hats were made and worn – there was a big pod out there at Fernfest! Next year, Superpod!