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USA, Florida. Orca Lolita may return to the wild after more than 50 years

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The killer whale Lolita has been kept in captivity at the Florida Aquarium since 1970 and is considered one of the highlights of the site. The facility announced that it had reached an agreement with animal rights activists, thanks to which the animal should be returned to its natural habitat. This should happen within two years.

Lolita is a 57-year-old killer whale caught in 1970 in a bay off the coast of Seattle, also known as Toki (an abbreviation of the Native American name Tokitae). Miami Seaquarium said it had reached a “binding agreement” with nonprofit Friends of Lolita to return the killer whale to the wild.

The animal is scheduled to be released into the northwestern Pacific Ocean within two years. According to the Miami Herald, it still needs federal approval.

She retired a year ago

The killer whale, weighing 2,268 kilograms, was one of the aquarium’s highlights until March last year, when its management changed. Previous owner SeaWorld Entertainment Inc gave up the killer whale shows in 2016.

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The process of returning Lolita to her natural habitat has been in preparation since The Dolphin Co acquired the aquarium, Daniella Levine Cava, mayor of Miami-Dade County, said at a press conference. The company worked with the organization to provide medical care to the killer whale.

“Finding a better future for Lolita is one of the reasons that motivated us to acquire Seaquarium Miami,” said Eduardo Albor, CEO of the company.

Orca Lolita, after more than 50 years in captivity, may be released back into the wildENEX

Efforts to release the killer whale into the wild gained momentum after the 2013 documentary “Blackfish,” which raised the issue of these animals in captivity, Reuters noted. Animal rights activists have unsuccessfully fought for Lolita’s freedom in court for years after the US Ocean and Atmosphere Agency (NOAA) listed killer whales as an endangered species in 2015.

Killer whales are highly social mammals that have no natural predators. They can live up to 80 years.

Main photo source: ENEX

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