Miami Seaquarium killer whale Lolita dies of kidney disease aged 57 before being released into the Pacific Ocean
- Lolita, the ‘loneliest whale in the world’, has died aged 57, just months after retiring and as plans to return her to the wild were underway
- Miami Seaquarium, where Lolita, also known as Tokitae, lived in captivity for more than 50 years, announced her death on Friday
- Experts and those affected had long protested Lolita’s conditions of captivity, including the size of her 80-foot-long, 35-foot-wide tank, the smallest of its kind in the United States.
Lolita, once dubbed the “world’s loneliest whale”, died aged 57 just months after retiring and as plans to return her to the wild were underway.
The Miami Seaquarium, where Lolita, also known as Tokitae, lived in captivity for more than 50 years, announced her death on Friday.
“Despite receiving the best possible medical care, she died on Friday afternoon of what is believed to be kidney disease,” the seaquarium said in a statement.
“Toki was an inspiration to all who had the chance to hear her story and especially to the Lummi Nation who considered her family.
“Those of us who had the honor and privilege to spend time with her will forever remember her beautiful spirit,” he added.
Lolita, the ‘loneliest whale in the world’, has died at the age of 57
The Miami Seaquarium announced his death on Friday.
Experts and those concerned had long protested Lolita’s conditions in captivity, including the size of her 80-foot-long and 35-foot-wide tank.
Lolita began to show serious signs of discomfort over the past two days and despite treatment passed away.
In March, it was announced that a binding agreement had been reached between The Dolphin Company, owner of the seaquarium, and the nonprofit Friends of Lolita to return the whale to its native waters in the Pacific Northwest. .
The Seaquarium, nonprofit Friends of Lolita, and Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay announced at a press conference that they will work to move Lolita to her home waters in about 18 months. .
“I think she will be very happy to be back and it will be therapeutic for her contrary to the misconception that it will be stressful,” Orca Network’s Howard Garrett told KOMO News at the time.
Experts and affected people have long protested Lolita’s captive conditions, including the size of her 80-foot-long, 35-foot-wide tank, the smallest of its kind in the United States.
Just ten years after Lolita’s arrival at the aquarium, her companion Hugo died of an aneurysm caused by repeated head trauma, earning him the title of the loneliest whale in the world.
The Lummi Nation of Washington, a Native American tribe, traveled to Miami in 2018 to leave behind a nearly 4,000-pound totem pole as part of an effort to bring the orca back to Washington. It’s part of an $8.5 million effort to bring Lolita home, according to
Tribe member Jewell James accused the Seaquarium of abandoning the animal’s money needs, requiring her to perform in front of the public several times a day and said that keeping her in the tank for 20 feet was like keeping her in a prison cell. .
“She’s our relative and we want her back,” he said.
Lolita was the oldest whale in captivity at 56 and played until 2022 when she finally retired after falling ill.
Lolita the Orca, also known as Tokitae, was caught off Washington in 1970 (pictured). She has lived most of her life inside the Miami Seaquarium
Lolita played for decades before stopping last year due to illness. She was the longest living whale in captivity at the age of 57
Only 10 years after Lolita’s arrival at the aquarium, her companion Hugo dies of an aneurysm
On average, killer whales in captivity only live to be around 45 years old.
The orca was caught off Washington in 1970 when she was four years old, and her mother, now nearly a century old, is believed to still be swimming in those waters.
Killing orcas was legal in the 1970s, but after a series of protests against hunters working to capture orcas from their mothers, Washington banned the practice.