That’s the message Mexican actress Kate del Castillo is passing along in a new video she recorded for the animal rights group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).
Del Castillo held a news conference in Miami on Tuesday imploring tourists to boycott the Miami Seaquarium, where the 50-year-old killer whale has lived in captivity since 1970, until park officials release the orca to a coastal sanctuary.
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In 1996, del Castillo acted in a Mexican TV mini-series, “Azul,” which was set at a water theme park and featured the same killer whale made famous in the 1993 movie “Free Willy.” That whale, Keiko, was eventually released from captivity in 1998 and died five years later.
"I could have done more," del Castillo told The Associated Press about her participation in the TV show.
Miami Seaquarium general manager Andrew Hertz issued the following statement in response to del Castillo’s request:
“An actress looking for publicity and an activist organization committed to the elimination of zoos and aquariums are not experts when deciding what is best for Lolita the killer whale. She is healthy and thriving in her home of almost 46 years where she shares her habitat with Pacific white-sided dolphins. There is no scientific evidence that the approximately 50 year-old post-reproductive Lolita could survive if she were to be moved from her home at Miami Seaquarium to a sea pen or to the open waters of the Pacific Northwest.
“It would be reckless and cruel to jeopardize Lolita’s health and safety by moving her from her home of 46 years. Miami Seaquarium is not willing to experiment with her life in order to appease a fringe group. These individuals will never be satisfied with the care she receives. Lolita is part of the Miami Seaquarium family and is as active and healthy as ever, a true testament to her care.
“Lolita plays an important role in the mission of Miami Seaquarium to educate the public about the need to conserve the marine environment and its residents. We know firsthand the educational and inspirational experiences children and adults have when they see Lolita, our dolphins and the other marine mammals at our facility. More than 65,000 school children and 600,000 guests visit Miami Seaquarium each year to learn about Lolita and the other residents of the sea.
“Lolita will continue to be an ambassador for her species from her home at Miami Seaquarium.”
Watch the video del Castillo shot for PETA below: