KEY BISCAYNE, FLA. (WSVN) - Lolita the orca at the Miami Seaquarium underwent a health assessment back in May after she had become ill earlier this year.
Experts released the results of the 57-year-old orca, Thursday.
Tokitae, or Lolita the killer whale, has been a staple at the Miami Seaquarium for decades, but back in March, her splash of a show was canceled due to health concerns.
“She had a very serious illness earlier this year, towards the end of last year on into March of this year, and that was evident in her blood work,” said Charles Vinick, executive director of the Whale Sanctuary Project.
Since then, Lolita has been receiving around the clock care.
The Seaquarium promised transparency and brought in two independent veterinarians to conduct a health and welfare assessment on the killer whale.
The team worked with Friends of Lolita and the executive director of the Whale Sanctuary Project to review her medical records over the last few years, as well as monitoring her health over two days in May.
“She’s doing well. She’s improving, certainly her behavior is normal, and in that sense, this is a very positive evaluation while recognizing that she had a serious illness earlier this year,” said Vinick.
The initial findings showed an improvement in Lolita’s blood levels and recommended the Seaquarium staff to continue their current care plan until she is fully stable.
“Well, the plan is to stick to the plan as is on right now,” said Miami Seaquarium General Manager Patrick Pearson. “The veterinarians that have examined her all agree that she’s getting good care, she’s in good spirits, and she is doing very, very well, so we will continue to listen to the experts and provide whatever is best for Toki.”
The team of independent vets will continue to perform on-site health and behavioral assessments on a monthly basis as needed.
“I think this really does represent that first step, a level of transparency in reporting on her medical care. We’ll continue to do that,” said Vinick, “but the most important thing is her health and the quality of her life now and going forward.”
They plan to end her therapy once she is fully stable.
Lolita officially retired from performing in March after the Miami Seaquarium came under new management.
To see the results of Lolita’s assessments and any future ones, click here.
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