The elderly killer whale may soon make its way back to the seas off the Pacific Northwest coast, where Lolita’s mother supposedly still resides.
Lolita the killer whale may return to the ocean and maybe reunite with her elderly mother 52 years after being brought into captivity.
According to The Guardian, activists are making progress in their decades-long effort to free Lolita, also known as Tokitae or Toki, who was taken from the wild and brought to the Miami Seaquarium in 1970.
According to the publication, the 56-year-old orca has been living and performing in what has been called the tiniest tank in North America for captive killer whales since 1970.
Lolita’s health has fluctuated throughout the years. Despite having outlived her tankmate Hugo, specialists have said the elderly whale is in “remarkably good form,” according to the newspaper. After continuously banging his head against his enclosure, he passed away in 1980 as the result of a cerebral aneurysm.
Howard Garrett, a whale researcher and Orca Network campaigner who has fought for Lolita’s release since 1995, told The Guardian that she “is a miracle every day.” “She is still alive, which is against all chances. Her mental health, in my opinion, is what maintains her physical health.
“She’s not withdrawn, neurotic, or exhibiting any stereotypical behavior that would point to any type of brain damage brought on by being held captive,” he added. She could be an absolute exception in terms of maintaining her health.
She was fed less than was advised and wasn’t drinking enough water, according to a USDA investigation that faulted the Miami Seaquarium’s treatment of the animal last year.
According to the report, the attending veterinarian was also concerned that Toki wasn’t getting enough water (because marine animals absorb water from fish for their hydration needs) and that the lack of meal volume would make her uncomfortable and agitated.
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“The AV also had problems with the Training Curator mandating the inclusion of rapid swims and huge jumps throughout training sessions and shows for this elderly whale,” the statement stated. The AV was concerned that Toki’s irregular bloodwork may lead to over-exertion and winding, which was in fact noticed by both the senior trainer and the AV. The AV determined that Toki had likely struck her lower jaw at the bottom flume or bulkhead while brisk swimming. According to Toki’s medical records, she had lower mandibular injuries on February 25, March 10, April 6, and April 7, 2021.
According to The Guardian, campaigners are optimistic about Lolita’s ultimate release to free seas as a result of the report’s conclusions and the fact that the facility’s new owners are amenable to the possibility of releasing the whale.
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Lolita may soon be reunited with her mother, a 93-year-old whale known as L25 or “Ocean Sun,” even though restoring her to her former environment entails hazards, according to Newsweek.
According to Newsweek, the senior animal still apparently roams the Salish Sea’s waters close to Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest, in charge of a pod of southern resident killer whales.