Miami Seaquarium or Seaprison  
Lolita alone at the Miami Seaquarium

       



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Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to Seaquarium's little web of deceit.

Who owns Miami Seaquarium?

The Miami Seaquarium is owned by:
Wometco Enterprises Inc.
(Main Headquarters)
3195 Ponce DeLeon Blvd.,
Coral Gables, FL 33134
Tel(305) 529-1400
Fax(305) 529-1466
Arthur Herman Hertz, CEO
Andrew Hertz, General Manager
More on Wometco and SQ


Are the trainers marine mammal specialists?

Seaquarium Says:
They are animal behavior specialists.

TRUTH: Requirements for training positions include a college degree, and SCUBA certification. The starting salary for trainers is $7.25 an hour.
(from current Miami Sea Seaquarium job posting).

The Miami Seaquarium trainers know very little about wildlife or wild animals. Not one trainer (that we know of) at the Seaquarium has ever studied orcas in the wild. The title "Trainer" has been bastardized at the Seaprison. These "trainers" simply memorize a series of signals that the animals have committed to memory decades ago. It is they who teach the trainers. But while 'trainers' know little about the subtle nuances of a wild orca, they do know how to keep one alive for 33 years in a chlorinated tank and make it perform for food. Bravo!

Who monitors the Miami Seaquarium to ensure they are compliant with current Animal Welfare laws, building regulations, safety, and fire codes?

FACTS:

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) department of the USDA is supposed to conduct routine inspections of maine mammal parks.

The Miami-Dade Building Authority is supposed to conduct regular inspections regarding building and safety hazards.

The Fire Marshal is supposed to conduct regular inspections regarding emergency, safety, and fire hazards.

The reality is, none of these organizations has done their job in years. The Seaquarium is rarely inspected by any of the above and usually only when public concern arises and complaints are filed with said organizations.

The Miami-Dade Fire Marshall recently admitted to never having set maximum capacity limits and emergency exit requirements at the Miami Seaquarium.

The only organizations that conduct routine inspections of the Miami Seaquarium are the non-profit organizations Rattle the Cage and Dolphin Freedom Foundation. Niether unfortunately has authority to enforce the law.

The Miami Seaquarium was built after the safety laws were established in 1939 which require four emergency exits for any exhibit with a capacity over 1000. Each of the three main attractions at the Miami Seaquarium fill to almost 2000 on a busy day and have but two heavily congested exits.

In 1994 5 sea-lions were electrocuted because of shotty wiring.

In 1996, prompted by undercover video from DFF, the Seaquarium whale show was closed due to structural damage in the whale stadium. It was never repaired.

In 2003 the entire park was closed for a day and many attractions remained closed for a week due to over 127 public safety hazards. The park reopened but the repairs have not been corrected. The various electrical corrections that were made do NOT meet Florida code according to licensed third-party safety inspectors and have been done in a cheap and negligent manor. [MORE]

How long do orcas live?

Seaquarium Says: 25-35 years

TRUTH: 50-90 years in the wild. In captivity they rarely make it to their teens. Average life span for a captive orca - 9 years.

Lolita is about 37-39 years old and has set the record for the longest living killer whale in captivity. She is a remarkable exception.

Could Lolita be successfully retired to the ocean?

Seaquarium Says: No known studies exist documenting killer whales which have been successfully introduced to the wild. Would you experiment and send someone you cared for into a potentially dangerous situation?

TRUTH: There is no part of the reintroduction protocol that would pose any appreciable risk. Many captive dolphins have been successfully retired to natural sea pens and finally released back to the wild. Orcas are dolphins.

Biologists have been monitoring Lolita's family, the L-25 Sub pod, on a daily basis for many years and are confident she can be reunited with them in Puget Sound. But first she must be rescued from MSQ and retired to a natural sea pen where she can once again experience the natural rhythms of the sea, be retaught how to catch her own fish (a natural instinct) and, eventually, be reintroduced to her family.

Orcas that have been studied in their natural habitat have demonstrated that they are the most cohesively bonded mammals on the face of the planet. The offspring stay with their mother for life. With Orcas remarkable long-term memory, there is good reason to believe that Lolita would remember her family members, that they would remember the loss of a family member and, due to her proven ability to make her family's distinct calls, she would be recognized upon return. What a reunion that would be!

Seaquarium Says: Lolita has been exposed to an array of potential diseases that, although posing no threat to her, could prove devastating to the currently healthy wild orca population. Releasing Lolita would be an inhumane and extremely risky experiment, both to her and to the wild population.

TRUTH: The same arguments were given in an attempt to prevent Keiko's release. A team of six USDA-appointed veterinarians and pathologists examined Keiko thoroughly and found NO TRACE of any such pathogen. A team of Icelandic veterinarians then examined Keiko independently and came to the same conclusion. Lolita would also be examined prior to transport to alleviate any concerns.

Seaquarium Says: Lolita is not physically or mentally strong enough to make the journey home to WA. She can never surivive after so many years in captivity.

FACT: Transporting her home would NOT be dangerous to Lolita's health. Orcas and dolphins are transported to and from marine parks constantly.

Orca biologists feel Lolita is a perfect candidate for retirement to a natural sea pen in Puget Sound where she was taken. Once she is 'deprogrammed' Lolita will ultimately determine if she wants to be released. If she chooses life in a pen then there she may retire in peace and experience the natural rhythms of the sea. She will hear her family as they pass through the Sound twice a year.
LOLITA's RETIREMENT PLAN ~ Kenneth Balcomb III, Orca Biologist

Why did the Seaquarium apply for a permit to recapture Keiko?

Seaquarium Says:
We're very concerned about Keiko's health. He can't survive out there after so many years in captivity.

TRUTH: So they could put him in a pool and attempt to breed him with Lolita. Bottom Line.

Is Lolita happy at the Seaquairum?

Seaquarium Says: She is part of our family and we take very good care of her.

TRUTH: Lolita is forced to perform two shows daily, seven days a week, 365 days a year. She is rewarded with food for her performances. If she doesn't perform properly, the whistle isn't blown and she doesn't get the fish. Trainers call this "positive reward." From Lolita's point of view, it is food deprivation.

She gets her exercise by swimming around and around in a constant holding pattern and has been repeating this psychotic behavior in an illegal substandard archaic tank for 33 years.

The Seaquarium's first orca Hugo was captured from the same pod as Lolita. He was worked to death in just 10 years. The Seaquarium tossed his body in the Dade County dump.

Throughout the entire park there is not one memorial for Hugo to be found! He's a forgotten soul, a victim to a heartless industry, lost forever, but not forgotten. >>HUGO<<

Would you treat your family this way?

Didn't I hear back in 1978 that the Seaquarium was building Lolita a bigger tank?

Seaquarium Says: (1996) Plans are under way to build Lolita a larger tank.
(2003) Plans are on the way to build her a new tank.

FACT: The Miami Seaquarium has been promising to build Lolita a larger tank since 1978. There is no new tank. Seaquarium admitted that they do not have the funds. They have been lying to the public and Lolita for twenty-five years.

Seaquarium Says: The government has approved Lolita's tank.

FACT: The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) states that the primary enclosure for a killer whale (Orcinus Orca) must have a minimum horizontal dimension of no less than 48 ft in either direction with a straight line of travel across the center. You must be able to draw a circle with a 48-foot diameter in the pool.

Lolita's tank is only 35 ft. from the front wall to the slide-out barrier. At its deepest point, it is only 20 ft. deep. This is clearly an ILLEGAL tank, but no one is enforcing the law. In other words, while Lolita is left cramped in this clearly substandard tank, APHIS is NOT doing their job. They gave the Seaquarium a variance from 1979 to 1984 to allow them five years to upgrade the tank. Her conditions have never been improved.

In September of 1998, the Humane Society of the United States filed a formal complaint regarding the size of Lolita's tank. And they have continuously objected to the federal government's failure to enforce the Animal Welfare Act. The USDA is NOT enforcing the law.

What kind of shelter does the Seaquarium have to protect Lolita in case of a hurricane?

Seaquarium Says: Uhhh?

FACT: The Miami Seaquarium has nothing to protect Lolita from the scalding Florida sun or any extreme weather emergency. The patrons however have protection from the elements.

Could Lolita's trust for humans prove detrimental to her release into the wild?

Seaquarium Says: Lolita has been in captivity for over 30 years and has learned to trust humans. This trust could be dangerous for her in the wild.

FACT:
Recent scientific studies have shown that orcas are well aware that they are orcas, and not pets for humans. Springer, the 18-month old orca that was returned to her family, quickly learned to stay away from boats and stay with her family. Lolita would need to be "deprogrammed," but it can and has been done.

Could Lolita learn to hunt for fish again?

Seaquarium Says: We threw her a fish once and she didn't chase it. Lolita has become accustomed to being hand-fed 180-200 pounds of restaurant-quality fish on a daily basis and has lost her ability to hunt for live fish.

FACT:
If she can learn tricks, she can re-learn to hunt. Keiko has demonstrated that after 23 years in captivity, he is fully competent to roam the North Atlantic, hunting and eating all the fish he can. The skill is apparently never lost during captivity. Lolita was about four years older than Keiko was when captured and had developed all of her hunting skills. She can certainly regain the ability to catch fish.

Are the Seaquarium shows educational?

Seaquarium Says: Our mission is to create an appreciation of our delicate ocean environments by displaying the natural abilities and beauty of marine animals through quality education and entertainment.... receive a better understanding of whales and marine animals in general.

FACT: About 5% of the show is educational. And that is only because the law requires it. The underlying message of cetacean display parks is that capture and lifelong confinement of orcas for profit and amusement is acceptable. People do not get to see anything that remotely resembles a wild animal. What they see are circus clowns. (See Education)

Some parks even say that living in small tanks is better for the animals than their natural ocean habitats, which are called "cold, dark and ferocious" by Brad Andrews, director of operations for Sea World. It's hard to imagine a more disrespectful, anti-conservation message. At the Seaprison spectators see only a captive manipulated animal not the awesome strength, beauty, and social structure of natural orca populations.

How many dolphins have died at the Seaquarium?

>>Seaquarium Dolphin Death Chart<<

For your own research please visit our LINKS page.

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Sea lion at Miami Seaquarium
 

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