It’s 1986 the sun reflected off the concrete in front of the Miami Seaquarium as I stood with 12 other animal activists, our signs asked the drivers rolling by to believe “Wild animals belong in the Wild” and to “Free Lolita”.
My Irish skin might have been burning but that was nothing, I thought at the time, compared to the hell of a watery cell the orca who was stolen from her family on August 8th, 1970 as a four year old endures.
Fast forward 37 years later and today it was announced Lolita is going home, I need to write that one more time, TODAY IT WAS ANNOUNCED LOLITA IS GOING HOME!
A nonprofit co-founded by Pritam Singh called Friends of Toki (Lolita), the CEO of the newest owners of the Miami Seaquarium, The Dolphin Company, Eduardo Albor and NFL Indianapolis Colts owner, Jim Irsay and The Center for Whale Research are all part of the plan to return Lolita to her native waters to a sea pen to allow for a gradual reintegration in Puget Sound.
Where Lolita will hear her family call her again. The oldest living orca in their natural wild home was 105 years old and Lolita is the oldest living orca in captivity at 56 years of age.
This Sunday, April 2nd at 4:pm we will gather at Leaves and Roots Lounge in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to toast Lolita’s liberation and note this epic moment in our struggle to stop the suffering of other beings. (If you’re unable to make it in person then raise your glass of kind, vegan beverage of choice to Lolita at 4:30 pm with us.) Send us a pic to @animalherokids, we will livestream the toast on Instagram.
Yes, we have more work to do for all of the other species of animals who are not free from harm and not free of unnatural confinement, pain or fear.
Yet, we can still note this glimmer of light victory and raise our glasses to the day Lolita will answer the calls from her Southern Resident Orca L pod and know she’s home again.