Willy is free, now it’s Lolita’s turn

Today I visited Dunedin new video store opposite the farmers market, MINT. After having a good chat to the owner, I found out that he used to work for the animal protection group SAFE – the one I now volunteer for. So it was less of a surprise to find a whole wall of documentaries on animal rights.

It was only one documentary though that (really) touched me and that’s “Lolita – Slave to Entertainment”. If you’ve seen the recent documentary, “The Cove” about dolphin capture and slaughter in Japan then you might be aware of the multi-billion dollar captive marine mammal industry – and the cruelty involved in wild capture techniques. If you haven’t then before you buy a ticket for a marine park to giggle at the funny animals wiggling their tails, you need to see these two documentaries. “The Cove” concentrates on dolphin capturing – which still goes on today but “Lolita – Slave to Entertainment” is about an Orca, or killer whale that was trapped and separated from her family more than three DECADES ago.

Lolitas capture

Lolita is the oldest surviving Orca living in captivity. Orca’s in the wild live to about the same age as humans but have a brain around five times larger than us. They communicate in a sonar language specific to their family groups. A family group will often span more than five generations, that’s like living with your Great Great Grandmother. Lolita was born in a family group that today, still live in the waters that she was captured from, Puget sound.

Lolita still speaks the same dialect as this group, only now her calls echo on the concrete walls of her isolated and illegally sized bathtub at Miami Florida’s Seaquarium. Lolita was captured when she was seven and the six other Orcas that were captured along with her are now dead, she is the only remaining one. This documentary is a disturbing look into the extensive efforts of animal activists, school children, politicians, filmmakers, actors, multimillion dollar magazine campaigns, scientists, the people who freed Willy and the man who actually caught Lolita himself, to return her to a family that awaits. Much like the Orca that played Willy, scientists expect Lolita would make a successful release back to the wild.

Lolita is the oldest surviving Orca in captivity, estimated to have made Miami Florida’s Seaquarium over $16 000 000. She’s earnt her retirement.

The main message from the film – Never buy a ticket to a marine entertainment park. Lolita still remains locked up to this day – destined to die in captivity.

Photos taken from http://www.slavetoentertainment.com


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