Protesters continue to demand Lolita’s release from Miami Seaquarium

VIRGINIA KEY, FLA. (WSVN) - Dozens of demonstrators gathered outside Miami Seaquarium to demand a well-known killer whale’s release.

Protesters gathered Tuesday afternoon to call for Miami Seaquarium to release Lolita the killer whale into a seaside sanctuary.

Lolita has been living at the aquarium for several decades and animal activists believe she doesn’t belong in a tank. “Animals deserve to be in their natural habitat,” said protester Michele Poli. “We should not be removing them from their families and their lives and enslaving them, starving them from food and putting them in a tank to do tricks for 47 years,” said protester Michele Poli. “I can’t even imagine.”

“She’s been in here 47 years today,” said protester Yuri Mitzkewich. “I just turned 47 years old two weeks ago, and for me, every single year that I’ve lived on this planet, I’ve gotten to live my life and do what I want. She’s been stuck in there, in that little bathtub of a tank.”

Miami Seaquarium’s general manager, Andrew Hertz, released a statement that read, “Lolita the killer whale is healthy and thriving in her home of 46 years where she shares her habitat with Pacific white-sided dolphins. There is no scientific evidence that the 50-year-old post-reproductive Lolita could survive if she were to be moved from her home at Miami Seaquarium to a sea pen or to the open waters of the Pacific Northwest. It would be reckless and cruel to treat her life as an experiment and jeopardize her health and safety in order to appease a fringe group.”

“We’re working with another group for land in her home waters in the Pacific Northwest where she can be released, she could live in natural waters and engage in natural behaviors,” said PETA campaign specialist Matt Bruce, “everything that she’s been denied for 47 years. That is the ideal situation. She is rehabilitated to the point of being released into the wild. We will see that come true as well.”

The Seaquarium staff said Lolita plays an important part of educating the public about the need to conserve marine animals.

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