Video Of Captive Orca “Lolita” Performing As A Calf Soon After Her Capture

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How precious it is, to see this video of “Lolita” as a calf, yet how heart wrenching to think that she has been confined in the Miami Seaquarium for 40 years, doing the same tricks, two shows a day, day after day after day.

(The second orca that appeared briefly, “Hugo”, had been previously captured. He died in 1980 from a brain hemorrhage, believed to have been caused by his ramming his head into the side of the tank).

From the video’s author:

“This Super 8mm footage was shot while we were on vacation in Miami when I was 4 years old.

It’s hard to believe that this same whale is still there performing everyday.

I was so excited to visit this place because it was where they filmed a large portion of the show “Flipper” and I got to see him (or at least one of him, there were actually several dolphins who played the part).

“Cathy” the dolphin most thought of as THE “Flipper” was dying in an isolated tank while we visited. I will never forget being that close to “Flipper” but being sad at what I saw.

“Flipper” died just a few weeks after our visit.”

Here she is, 40 years later:

Please help bring her home! The following is excerpted from a letter written to officials by John Kielty. Please add your name, by clicking here to find the full context (along with contact information) to copy, sign, and send.

…Opponents of captivity for marine mammals have called for Lolita’s retirement and release from her pool at MSQ for years. Captured on August 8, 1970, from Penn Cove, Washington state and sent down to Florida to perform tricks for tourists, Lolita has resided in what is the smallest and oldest orca tank in the United States. The tank is merely one-and-a-half-times her size, has garnered numerous safety violations, and does not meet USDA/APHIS Regulations. Caring people have been trying to help Lolita for decades – writing letters, protesting, raising awareness – but Lolita’s captors are indifferent and uncaring, and they hide behind loopholes in the laws designed to protect our rare and valuable wild animals. Lolita, who is affectionately known as “Toki” (short for her true name, Tokitae – which means ‘shimmering water’ in Chinook), was captured right before implementation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act which now protects the rest of her family as endangered species. Lolita’s family, including her mother, now believed to be 82 years old, still swim freely in the open waters where Lolita was captured. Because she was caught ‘pre-act’, the powers-that-be excluded her from the status of endangered. It’s time to return Lolita home, where her family awaits.

There are many wonderful people and organizations willing to work with the Miami Seaquarium, the Unified Commands’ Response efforts, local, state and federal officials and are ready, willing and waiting to move forward with a rehabilitation, retirement and relocation plan for ALL their marine animals.

Please visit for an important press release from Marine Mammal Specialist Richard O’Barry and David Phillips, Director of Earth Island Institute. For more information about the organizations who are ready and willing to help visit , , , and

I thank you for your support and prompt attention to this matter.


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