On Saturday, May 15, 2010 at 12:00pm, a protest will be held all over the world with a division here in Pittsburgh, PA to raise awareness about Seaquarium Orca, Lolita. Over thirty different cities and countries have signed up to be part of the massive collaboration to show the Miami Seaquarium along with other marine mammal parks and the world that Orcas do not belong in captivity. One of our protests held on October 11, 2008 generated national media attention for the Orca when a four-minute segment was aired on CNN Headline news. In collaboration with Orca Network, I invite fellow Pittsburgh residents and media to come out and support this cause. We hope to see Lolita retired back into a sea pen in her native Pacific North West waters where she will be taken care of for the rest of her life unless she chooses to rejoin her pod that lives there as well.
She has been living in an illegal tank at the Seaquarium for the last 39 years, and has taken a backseat to the newly developed swim with the dolphins program. This backseat has raised controversy as to why she shouldn’t be retired, because the Seaquarium is not allowed and won’t build her a bigger tank. Surrounding the controversy with the rising number of orca attacks at Sea World, she could be the first of a new generation of orcas being retired back to their natural habitat
If retired she will initially reside in a generously sized “bay-pen” where she will be fed, taken care of and slowly reintroduced back into the wild. After rehabilitation it will be her choice to continue to live in the “bay-pen” or leave to rejoin her pod.
In 1970 Lolita was captured in Penn Cove. Since then, much controversy has surrounded the safety of the Seaquraium’s actions with their animals. Hugo, an Orca captured two years earlier from the same pod as Lolita, committed suicide at the Seaquarium in 1980 by bashing his head off of the illegal tank; after showing strong signs of depression. Many have offered more than what Lolita’s insurance policy is worth for her retirement, but Owner Arthur Hertz of The Seaquarium has yet to agree. The concern is from coast to coast on an animal that has done her time in living quarters to small, and arguably unsafe conditions for patrons to view in this dated arena.
Please come out to support this wonderful cause on Saturday May 15, 2010 at Point State Park in Pittsburgh, PA. Feel free to use the comment space below for any questions, directions, or offers for help! Also, if you plan on coming, please let me know. I’m trying to get a sort of pre-registration plan together. Help us get a good turnout and you’ll be on the news and possibly even a spot on Current TV! Anyone can help! We’re looking for photographers, videographers, face painters, and creative people to help make t-shirts and signs. Also, we need a bull horn! It’s just not a protest without a bull horn!
Come on down for Lolita! Kids are welcome, too! Actually, if we get enough, expect some face painting!
Also, here’s a list of city captains. If your city isn’t listed or you need contact information for your city leader, contact Shelby at Save Lolita!
Chicago: Niki Gianni
Miami: Shelby Proie
NE Florida: Venus Hurst
Whidbey Island, WA: Howard and Susan
Olympia, WA: Pat Rasmussen
Vancouver: Rachel Palmer
Denver: Lauren Kimball
Berkeley, CA: Wendy
Amsterdam: Ingrid van Dam
Pittsburgh, PA: Amanda Young
Whakatane, New Zealand: Emily
Toledo, Ohio: Amber
Philadelphia, PA: Shannon
San Diego, CA: Hailey
Stockholm, Sweden: Ewakajsa Werngren
San Fransico, CA: Kim Flaherty
Toronto, Canada: Bob Timmons
Vancouver Island: Tarah Millen
Glen Falls, New York: Jessica Ryle
Budapest, Hungary: Tatiana
Orchard Park, New York: Kimberly
St. Lois, Missouri: Sarah Garvin
Key West: Kathy Watkins & Gina Gaft
Portland, Oregon: Rae Wilson
Michigan: Bailey Hanson
Minneapolis, Minnesota: Christine Swedell
Melbourne, Australia: Gwen Williams
Indianapolis, Indian: Leighann Shropshire
Seattle, Washington: Diana Comstock
Houston, Texas: Amanda and Brian
Sarasota, Florida: Candace Gee