The readers’ forum

Retire Lolita


While reading the April 18 article Pet rescue operator Gigi’s Rescue in Hialeah accused of animal abuse, about a woman who hoarded more than 200 dogs and cats and how she is being charged for “animal cruelty,” I felt obligated to make a larger point about animal rights.

I live in Key Biscayne and every day I drive by the Miami Seaquarium where Lolita and numerous dolphins and other animals are held captive. As I pass by my heart fills with sadness that such a large, intelligent and emotional animal is living in such a small tank. Lolita is 20 feet long and weighs 7,000 pounds. She lives in a pool only 20 feet deep, 80 feet long and 35 feet wide.

Yes, she is fed and cared for, but an orca like Lolita swims over 100 miles a day in the wild.

Whales in the wild live twice as long as they do in captivity and, most importantly, they live with large families, are extremely social and have emotional relationships.

She was cruelly captured and separated from her mother and family who are still alive and living in the Pacific Northwest.

I believe having her trapped in such a small pool for 44 years, depriving her of interaction with other whales, the ability to swim long distances and forcing her to perform daily is immoral. Isn’t this animal cruelty? We unfairly discriminate against certain animals, while we protect some.

The same amount of protection that is given to cats and dogs should be applied to all animals.

We defend the captivity of certain animals in the name of education. Having a whale in a tank performing tricks is not education.

I, myself, took my children when they were young to the Miami Seaquarium, but I was not accurately informed and it is now a decision I regret.

I encourage families to not take their children to the Miami Seaquarium and contribute to this inhumane situation.

The dolphins and whales you see in advertisements are made to look happy.

Dolphins seem to have a permanent smile on their faces, but that it just how we choose to see them.

In reality, these animals would rather be free, they would rather be in the ocean, they would rather have control over their own lives.

I urge local authorities to look into the cruel conditions in which we are keeping Lolita, to expedite the closing of this show and return her to her family or retire her to a sea pen.

Responsibly ending Lolita’s career and treating her with respect after all she has given to the Miami Seaquarium is the least we could do. That would be a real lesson for our children. That’s education.

Rosa Sugrañes, Miami

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