Lolita is an orca “killer” whale who has been performing at the Miami Seaquarium (http://miamiseaquarium.com/Shows/Killer-Whale-and-Dolphin) since 1970 and Gigi Glendinning is the founder of 22reasons.org (http://22reasons.org), an organization that teaches “compassion and reverence for all animals” who believes Lolita deserves a rehabilitative retirement where she has round-the-clock veterinary care and the opportunity to return to the sea.
Glendinning was out advocating at a booth at the Chestnut Hill Garden Festival on Sunday with a niece costumed as a killer whale. Kids were invited to paint a life size illustration of a killer whale on a huge tarp on the ground. 22Reasons and several similarly missioned organizations are mounting a petition drive and urging parents to NOT buy tickets to shows like Lolita’s where animals are forced to perform. It sends a contradictory message to children, Glendinning maintains, to attempt to instill respect for these animals while simultaneously mistreating them.
According to Glendinning, Lolita was illegally captured and is being illegally contained in a concrete pool so small her tail touches the bottom and where, as a member of an exceptionally intelligent and social species, she is deprived of necessary social contact and subject to many confinement-related afflictions.
She presented your correspondent with a copy of the book, “Death at Sea World: Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity” by David Kirby (St Martins Press 2012) about killer whales in the marine park industry, their advocates and the brutal and sometimes lethal attacks on trainers over the years, attributed to captivity-related aggressiveness of the orcas. Watch video interview here.