Miami Florida there lives a very special
orca; one with a remarkable will to
survive. She is a 37-year-old performer
named Lolita. And she is Celebrating
35 lonely years in the whale puddle.
was taken from the wild over 3 decades ago
to be trained and put on display. Today
she is the remaining survivor of the Puget
August 8th, 1970, Lolita and her family
were swimming peacefully off the coast
of Washington State, in route to a ritual
gathering of the orca nations. Every
year the orca pods of the northwest
make the long pilgrimage to Possession
Sound for the celebration.
But for Lolita the day took a tragic
turn. She and 10 other family members
would never make it to this or any other
family reunion again.
the pod of more than 100 whales moved through
the inlet, legendary orca trainer Ted Griffin
and his capture team quickly gave chase.
Speedboats roared out to greet the pod.
An assault of explosives quickly ensued.
Deafening bombs exploded around the
family as boats and small aircraft attempted
to herd the disoriented whales into Puget
Sound's Penn Cove inlet.
Attempting to protect their young, mature
whales instinctively split into two groups
and sent decoys to distract hunters from
the infants and adolescents. The decoys
tried to lead the hunters on a wild chase
away from the pod, but pursuers were relentless,
hurling nets into the water, and trapping
the panicked family in Penn Cove inlet
air was thick with the sound of screaming
whales as they thrashed in the tangled
nets. Piercing shrills were heard for
miles according to local residents Lila
Snover and Barbara Stevens.
sounds they made were we what we really
noticed. What you really felt were the cries
of both the small ones and the adult ones.
I remember one day I stopped close to them
with my children and they kept saying, 'Why
are they crying? They're crying.' It just
broke your heart, and you kept wanting them
to let them go, quit harassing them."
"There was a group of people that even
contemplated going out in small boats in
the dark and try and cut the nets and set
the orcas free but they were being guarded
all day and all night by people on the boats
with rifles. They would pretty much shoot
anybody who showed up and tried to free
them." ~Barbara Stevens
"It was terrible. It was just terrible.
It was like a prison camp; it was awful.
And I think everybody that remembers it
will tell you that. It was just one of the
most horrible things I've witnessed in my
life. I became dedicated to orcas in general
and Lolita in particular since that day."
ranging in age 2 to 7 years (the perfect
age for capture and training) were quickly
separated from their mothers and prepared
for extraction. While desperately trying
to reach her child through the twisted nets,
one mother drowned: one last glimpse of
her infant being dragged away and she closed
her blowhole and sank lifelessly into the
murky water. Her body was later discovered
Crowe was just 18 when he was hired to aid
in the capture, and he remembers it very
were set up with net going down on all sides.
Then you have to figure out a way to separate
the animals because you only want the little
ones. Then when you see that there are some
little ones on one side, more on one side
than the other, then you take off with another
boat and run a net and separate those. Also
you leave a circular net out to keep some
whales in it because as long as there is
one whale in captivity the rest of them
won't leave. Isn't that interesting?"
youngsters also died in the assault.
While charging the nets in final attempts
to reach their mothers they drowned.
But their deaths were kept from public
a covert midnight mission, the bodies were
weighted and hauled out to sea for secret
had us slit them open and fill them
with rocks and put anchors on their
tails and we sank them." ~John
bodies mysteriously washed up on shore on
Nov. 18, 1970 making national headlines
and inciting public outrage. The outrage
later inspired Washington State government
to ban Orca captures in Puget Sound for
youths were lashed, hoisted onto boats,
and dragged to shore never to see their
family again. A family unit as old as
time was suddenly crippled forever.
job along with another guy was to get her
in the stretcher and that was the bad part
because that was our last whale. So as soon
as we left with her they started breaking
down the rest of the outfit and they released
them then. But they didn't leave. They came
right over to the beach. And they just kind
of milled about there.
And they were communicating back and forth
with the squeaks and shrieks that they do,
and they call it spy-hopping now when a
whale sticks his head up. They were doing
kind of broke down and started crying. I
kept working but it was really too much
for me to deal with at that point. So we
kept going on anyway and got the whale loaded
and they picked it up. And the instant that
whale cleared the water where the sound,
I suppose didn't transmit any more, the
whole rest of the pod of hales that were
there Just gave a big sigh and swam off.
And that was the end of that." ~John
the commotion at Penn Cove, the call
went out to aquariums around the world
proclaiming there were whales for sale
in Puget Sound. It was the largest whale
capture in history.
youngsters were caught in all; two went
to Japan, one each to Texas, Australia,
The UK, and France, and one 6-year-old female
Florida: the chic, glamour, and fashion
capital of the southeast, the town that
boasts a multi-billion-dollar tourism industry,
adopted a brand new attraction on September
miles from home, the young female was
unloaded and moved into her new permanent
residence at the Miami Seaquarium. She
was purchased for a mere $6000 to become
the second captive killer whale on display
on the east coast. Given a brand new
identity, she became known as - Lolita,
the Killer whale.
At the Seaquarium, Lolita was temporarily
reunited with Hugo who was captured
from the very same family just 2 years
earlier. But he died of mysterious causes
in 1980, leaving her alone. Now Lolita
is the remaining survivor of the 58
whales kidnapped over the years from
decades later, she is still the star attraction
of the Seaquarium, living and performing
in a substandard tank
not much larger than a hotel swimming pool.
Six young orcas are ripped away
from their family, sold to marine
parks, and shipped across the world
to enter into a life of slavery.
Three decades later only one survives.
And she just so happens to be Miamiís
controversial independent documentary
takes a disturbing look into the
dark secrets of the multi-billion
dollar aquarium industry and questions
human ethics in relationship to
animals in entertainment. It is
the tragic and compelling life story
of Lolita, a Killer Whale on display
in Miami Florida, documenting her
37 year existence. But there is
another story here as well.
the trailer or order the video>>>>>>>>>