Animal advocates celebrate: Lolita, the killer whale imprisoned since 1970, returns to the sea after decades of performing at the Miami Seaquarium in Florida, United States.

It will return to the waters of the Northwest coast of the United States, in the Pacific Ocean, where it was caught more than 52 years ago, thanks to a historic agreement between the aquarium where it lives and entities that financially support its maintenance, Clarín publishes .

Lolita has been one of the major attractions that has moved tourism to Florida for decades.

“For the first time, a private company with marine mammals under human care and a non-profit animal welfare organization signed an agreement with one goal: integrate the beloved Lolita into a natural sanctuary” reads an official statement, distributed on March 30, 2023.

The decision, says NTN 24, came about thanks to the support of the “Friends of Lolita” Association, the Miami Mayor’s Office and National Football League team owner Jim Irsay, who committed to the animal’s transfer. to fund.

The age of the killer whale Lolita

The famous cetacean is 57 years old, CNN reported in Spanish citing the Seaquarium.

He adds that “the killer whale has not traded since last year, but remains in its tank, which measures 25 meters by 10 meters, WPLG, a subsidiary of the aforementioned news network, reported.

Killer whales can live up to 90 years, weigh up to 11 tons and grow to almost 10 meters, says the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA, for its acronym in English).

What will the process be like to return the killer whale to the sea?

In the statement, issued Thursday, March 30, the Miami Seaquarium noted that “Lolita will receive the highest quality care as the team works to accommodate her move over the next 18 to 24 months.”

“I know Lolita wants to reach open water. I don’t care what anyone else says. You’ve lived so long to get this chance. And my only mission is (…) to help free this whale,” said Jim Irsay, the owner of the Indianapolis Colts who is helping pay for Lolita’s move.

The cost, as announced to the press that day, could be “eight figures”.

While Eduardo Albor, general manager of The Dolphin Company, Miami Seaquarium’s concession business, pointed out “that Lolita can return to the waters of the North Pacific Ocean, an area between Washington State and the Canadian borderwithin a period of 6 to 12 months,” the EFE agency reported.

From Tokyo to Lolita

Lolita, according to NTN 24 review, is “the world’s oldest orca in captivity”.

She was about four years old when she was captured in August 1970. Her hunters sold her to the Miami Seaquarium for about $20,000, EFE noted.

The Lummi Indians, who live in the area where the orca was born, “regard it as a person and call it Tokitae.”