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New Video: Lolita's Lonely Life - The Story of an Orca Held Captive for Fifty Years

Updated: Aug 5, 2020

This video is a tribute to the captive orca Lolita/Tokitae, who is held at the Miami Seaquarium, in commemoration of her capture fifty years ago. You can read more information about her, her family, and ways you can take action to help both below.

𝐌𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐀𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐓𝐨𝐤𝐢𝐭𝐚𝐞/𝐋𝐨𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐚:

On Aug. 8, 1970, Tokitae and her family were driven into Penn Cove, Whidbey Island, Washington State, USA. Violent, deafening explosions were used to herd them into the cove. There, the young members of the pod were separated from their mothers and transported away to various marine parks. On behalf of the Miami Seaquarium, veterinarian Dr. Jesse White flew to Washington to select a companion for Hugo, a three year old who was captured in the same region a couple years before and sold to the park. He selected one female whale to be transported to the park, where then-manager Burton Clark gave her the stage name Lolita. Hugo was eventually moved to the same tank as Lolita, where they performed together for several years.

Hugo had a history of ramming his head against the side of their tank, at one point requiring his rostrum to be stitched back together. On March 4th, 1980, he suffered a fatal brain aneurysm during one of these incidents. His body was dumped in a landfill. Since Hugo's death over 40 years ago, Lolita has not seen another member of her own species. She has performed unnatural behaviors for our entertainment day after day in an illegally-sized tank. It's time to end her suffering and retire her to a seaside sanctuary.

To learn more about her plight, and her retirement plan, please visit

𝐌𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐀𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐓𝐨𝐤𝐢𝐭𝐚𝐞'𝐬 𝐅𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐥𝐲, 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐒𝐨𝐮𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐧 𝐑𝐞𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐬: Tokitae belongs to the southern resident killer whale community and is believed to be a member of L-Pod with her presumed mother, L-25 (Ocean Sun). This population of orcas frequently inhabits the Salish Sea and coastal waters of Washington State. They are now on the verge of extinction. While there are other threats, one of the biggest contributors to their struggles is lack of food from major declines in Chinook salmon, their main food source. These declines are primarily caused by dams, such as those on the lower Snake River, that inhibit the spawning patterns of the salmon. The southern residents are at their lowest numbers since the captures of the population for aquaria in the 1970s. Researchers have correlated these declines to the reduction in salmon available for them to eat.

For more information about the southern residents, please visit: -

𝐓𝐨 𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐩 𝐋𝐨𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐚/𝐓𝐨𝐤𝐢𝐭𝐚𝐞:

▶️ Learn more about her plight, here:

▶️ Take the pledge to not buy a ticket:

▶️ Add your signature for Lolita here:

▶️ For more ways to help her, click here:

𝐓𝐨 𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐩 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐒𝐨𝐮𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐧 𝐑𝐞𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐬:

▶️ SIGN: Add your signature to the following petitions to help restore critical salmon habitats.

• Tell Senators Murray and Cantwell, as well as the EPA, to cool down the Snake and Columbia rivers by breaching the dams. If you're a Oregonian resident, please click this form: If you're a Washingtonian resident, please click this form: If you're a Idahoan resident, please click this form:

• Stop the Pebble Mine from being developed in Bristol Bay and help protect the critical Chinook salmon the Residents depend on. Please click this form if you're a U.S. resident: Please click this form if you're an International resident: • For other ways to take action for the Columbia & Snake Rivers, please click here: . For other ways to take action for Bristol Bay, please click here:


• Help support the Center of Whale Research, who has been monitoring and helping Lolita's pod for over 44 years, here:

• Help support the Wild Salmon Center protect the Bristol Bay and ensure it stays a preserved ecological treasure, here:

▶️ For other ways to help the Southern Residents, please click here:


Original Music by Zach Affolter


British Movietone/AP Archives

Center For Whale Research



Tim Gorski and Rattle The Cage Productions: "Lolita: Slave To Entertainment"

All other clips filmed by Zach Affolter at the Miami Seaquarium on January 18th, 2015.

𝐃𝐢𝐬𝐜𝐥𝐚𝐢𝐦𝐞𝐫: This video is for educational purposes only. The rights to any content not owned by Rising Sun Productions remains entirely with its owner. No money is collected by Rising Sun Productions as a result of the publishing of this video. Rising Sun Productions is not an official business or movie studio.



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