Lolita will stay at Miami Seaquarium, park officials said last week following an announcement from SeaWorld that it will phase out its killer whale show.
Seaquarium general manager Andrew Hertz said in a statement issued following the SeaWorld report that the Miami park has evolved to include environmental and conservational elements to its marine mammal shows, including Lolita’s.
“As a result, several months ago the killer whale presentation at Miami Seaquarium transitioned into an educational presentation about killer whales, their natural behaviors and the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale population,” Hertz said.
Last summer, Seaquarium removed trainers from the water during performances with Lolita after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined the park $7,000 in July 2014 for trainers’ lack of approved protection while working with the nearly 50 year-old orca. The park settled in June, transitioning into more educational shows, rather than trainer-involved performances.
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Then last week, SeaWorld announced it would end its orca breeding program and phase out its controversial killer whale shows, after a debate sparked six years ago when a trainer was pulled underwater by a whale and killed.
Hertz at the Miami Seaquarium said the park will continue its “commitment to education, conservation and the appreciation for all marine species, including Lolita, our resident orca.”