In Raglan (NZ) while at Maui’s Dolphin Day 2016 focus was placed on saving the world’s smallest member of the dolphin family, area resident Victoria Beeby took action to be a voice for one of the world’s largest member of the dolphin family: an Orca named “Lolita”, held captive for nearly 46 years in an illegal tank at the Miami Seaquarium. Victoria wrote: “I decided that it's time to let Lolita go and bloody well just stop the outdated practice of captive cetacean shows.”
Ms Beeby sat in a bath tub in downtown Raglan, in solidarity with the demonstration “Living Like Lolita” by Ms. Danielle Daals of Wellington (NZ). Daals traveled earlier this year to Florida to sit in a bath tub for close to 30 days in front of the Miami Seaquarium, where Lolita has been without company of another Orca for 35 years. Fifty “16,425 Days A Slave!” letters were signed for Lolita that day. The following week, Victoria, her bath tub and our Orca sign (that we’d painted together) made another appearance at Solscape in Raglan where I hosted a summer outdoor screening of “Blackfish” 42 more of our “16,425 Days A Slave!” letters were signed at the event.
Peggy Oki (left) with Victoria Beeby (right)
photo courtesy: Paul Moss / MozaMedia
We are also grateful to Jo for posting campaign information in the store window of “Jet Collective” in Raglan, offering letters for customers to sign.
On June 1, United States District Judge Ursula Ungaro, a resident of Miami, summarily dismissed the joint lawsuit by PETA, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Orca Network, and Orca Network director Howard Garrett against the Miami Seaquarium for violations of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The case was dismissed without trial on the grounds that "there is no violation of the ESA unless it can be shown that the protected animal is not just harmed or harassed, as clearly stated in the language of the ESA, but that she must be under 'grave threat to her survival.'”
Yesterday, July 1, the plaintiffs (named above) filed an appeal of the trial court’s dismissal of their ESA lawsuit against the Miami Seaquarium. "Armed with testimony from expert biologists, a veterinarian, and a former orca trainer, the plaintiffs argue that holding Lolita the orca without the company of any others of her kind, with incompatible animals, and in a cramped tank with no protection from the hot sun is an unlawful “take”—that is, that she is being harmed, harassed, and/or wounded—in violation of the ESA. The plaintiffs argue that the ruling announced last month "is unprecedented and dangerously narrow."
It is very sad to think of Lolita having to endure even one more day there in such cruel conditions. Despite the tragic story of her capture and nearly 46 years in captivity, she remains a very strong and amazing Being. Originally named Tokitae (in the native dialect of the Pacific Northwest from where she was taken) meaning “Beautiful Lady/Shining Waters” she has demonstrated strength and faith, and her grace is a true inspiration beyond measure to many of us. “Her Name is Not Lolita” by veterinarian Dr. Ian Kupkee provides a well-informed insight into Tokitae and the wonder of Orcas in the wild.
Tokitae (aka “Lolita”) NEEDS US to BE her VOICE now more than ever! SeaWorld stocks continue to plummet. Let's keep the public pressure up on Palace Entertainment / Parques Reunidos, the owners of Miami Seaquarium, reminding them that their days are numbered too.
We have close to 25% of our goal, and it is encouraging to know that people across the world care about and are collecting letters for Lolita. Last week we received 20 letters from Sala in Italy, and 20 letters from Anita in Germany. Messages from the international community are important because Palace Entertainment and Parques Reunidos together own 51 theme parks across Europe and the US, including one in Argentina.
Please continue to spread the word and collect signatures on our letters pledging boycott of all 51 theme parks! We make it very easy: Download & Print photos & information to readily explain our campaign for Lolita; grab a clipboard and you're ready!
How many of your friends, family, and co-workers can you ask to sign letters for Lolita?
Please do share a photo of yourself holding the letters you’ve collected, and tell us how many you have so far. And with your permission we’ll share to announce encouraging news as we continue to fight for Tokitae's return to her mother Ocean Sun and L-Pod in her home waters of the Pacific Northwest.
1st grader Rebecca and her mother Lesly have been collecting “16,425 Days (45 YEARS!) A Slave!” letters for Lolita. After the first 50 letters they sent to us, Rebecca decided on her own to help Lolita even more and proceeded to collect 23 more = 73 letters from this wonderful mother/daughter team, with more on the way!
And of course, personalized letters and artwork for Lolita are the most powerful and most welcome!
More love from Charles Pride, age 9, who along with his mother Stacia, brother Nathan, and their grandmother have collected over 270 letters for Lolita!
Wherever you are ~ everyone around the world can MULTIPLY your POWER by asking Friends & Family to sign LETTERS for Lolita!
“Shut Down Palace” protests in 8 cities across North America, August 13th. Find protest location near you and join in!
Palm Springs, California
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Greensboro, North Carolina