This is a huge step in the right direction!
The government has opened up their initial ruling to change the ESA language so that Lolita would become protected under the Endangered Species Act like the rest of her family. NMFS is asking for public comments over the next 2 months, let's give it to them because you know the other side will be submitting their arguments why this not a good idea!
This is her last hope!! Please invite your friends to this event! https://www.facebook.com/events/1442245159341081/
1,800+ comments last time of which 13 were deemed useful by NMFS and enough for the Government to propose removing the captive restriction for Lolita! They've opened this up to Scientific Community, the Commercial industry (aka the Captivity Industry) and Us!
Click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.
Mail: Submit written comments to:
Protected Resources Division, NMFS,
Northwest Region, Protected Resources Division
7600 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA 98115
Attention Lynne Barre, Branch Chief.
Public comments close March 28 2014 and the final determination will be made by January 25, 2015
From Orca Network:
3 essential points to make:
1. There is no significant risk to Lolita in any stage of Orca Network's proposal for Lolita's retirement in her native waters.
a. Transport of orcas according to established protocols is commonly done and has never resulted is serious health issues;
b. Immersion of captive marine mammals in their native waters is described as therapeutic in veterinary literature;
c. The initial immersion is likely to be followed by exploration of the seapen environs, and heightened energy and metabolic strength, as demonstrated by Keiko upon immersion in Icelandic waters;
d. Her ability to catch and eat wild fish is likely to begin to resume in a matter of weeks or months, again as demonstrated by Keiko.
2. After thorough examination conducted by a team of veterinarians and pathologists prior to transport to detect any potential communicable diseases there is no significant risk to any members of the Southern Resident Community as a result of Lolita's return to her native waters.
Conclusion: there is no harm to Lolita involved in returning her to her home waters.
3. Remaining in captivity is likely to lead to increasing mental and physical stresses and health issues.
a. Abundant evidence, including peer-reviewed scientific publications, indicate that captivity increases mortality rates for orcas;
b. Due to her loneliness from living without the companionship of another orca for over three decades, and due to her exposure to the midday Miami sun, and due to the extremely small size of the tank that has been her only environs for over four decades, she is at high risk of suffering adverse health effects as long as she remains in captivity;
c. Despite Lolita's unlikely good health at over 45 years of age, she is still subject to the adverse effects of captivity on her emotional, mental and physical health.
Conclusion: remaining in captivity DOES constitute real harm to Lolita, and given her relatively good health, she is an excellent candidate for return to her native waters for retirement under human care in a seapen, and potentially for eventual full release.
1. Critical habitat will not be effected by Lolita's return (She will not harm the current population by bringing in parasites)
2. Lolita's return would enhance the propagation or survival of the species.
It's time to Retire Lolita!