Plans to move Miami killer whale Lolita home are underway (includes video story)

On Thursday morning, the Miami Seaquarium announced a proposal to return famed orca Lolita back to her home waters with the help of county officials and benefactors.

Eduardo Albor, CEO of The Dolphin Company, which runs the Miami Seaquarium, spoke yesterday morning alongside Jim Irsay, philanthropist and owner of the Indianapolis Colts, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, and Pritam Singh, head of Friends of Lolita.

“More than just moving Lolita to a place where she will be better, she will become a symbol,” says Albor. “For us and the future generations, how many things can be achieved when besides words, we take action.”

Of the seven orcas that were forcibly abducted by hunters and sold to various marine parks in 1970, Lolita is the only one that survived. Since then, she has been at Miami Seaquarium in a whale tank that is only 80 feet by 35 feet wide and 20 feet deep. She performed twice daily, seven days a week, until she retired last year.

Lolita would need to go through a number of steps to reacclimate to life outside Seaquarium before she could return to the ocean.

Approval would be required from federal agencies like the USDA and NOAA before she is transported 3,000 miles to her birthplace near Washington.

Alexa Velez is a senior at FIU majoring in broadcast media with a concentration in English. She has written for PantherNOW and Caplin News and is a recipient of the NBCU Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Scholarship. She completed her first internship on a national radio station, SLAM! Radio on Sirius XM 145, during the summer. She aims to network with others within the field and continue gaining experience in an effort to grow professionally and perfect her craft as a journalist.