137,900 Care2 Members Call Miami Seaquarium Out for Illegally Small Orca Tank

Like many members of Care2′s community who take action against injustices through petitions, Care2 member Maddie L. created a petition against the Miami Seaquarium for violating tank sizing. Since the petition was created on March 6, it has gathered more than 137,900 signatures and is close to reaching the 138,000 signature goal. In it, Maddie L. writes:

Lolita’s tank violates the APHIS regulations on acceptable tank size. She has been living in this tiny tank for over 40 years, and it’s time to get her out!

Sign to bring her illegal conditions to attention and hopefully retire her to a sea-pen where she can be rehabilitated for release to the wild.

Captivity is bad enough for highly intelligent animals like orcas, so having an illegally small tank is even more torture for them. The 35-foot tank that Lola, who was captured in Puget Sound in Washington State at 4-years-old, has been housed in for 40 years has violated APHIS regulations that entire time. To put that in perspective, Lola herself is 21 feet long.

The Miami Seaquarium doesn’t miss these requirements by a slight measurement, either. APHIS requirements for an animal of her size is a 48-foot-wide tank. The deepest part of the the tank is 20 feet and the most shallow part of the tank is 12 feet. Her current tank has been 13 feet smaller than the legal requirement for the past 40 years. Oh, and she’s also alone in the tank. She has been without a companion in her life for four decades. This is another huge problem, since orcas are extremely social animals and travel in groups called pods. In addition to the small enclosure and solitary confinement, Lola is not protected from the direct sunlight or harsh weather. She is trapped, alone and exposed to the elements.

The petition isn’t the only attention Lola is getting. According to a recent press release, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeal in Miami will consider a lawsuit related to Lola on March 24. In it, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will be challenged for continuing to renew Miami Seaquarium’s exhibition license, despite evidence of noncompliance with the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

There is also a website devoted to helping Lola get the life she deserves. Save Lola gives information about Lola’s condition, as well as the sad history of how Miami Seaquarium has a “substantial death rate for their animals.”

This isn’t the first time Lola’s tank has been brought to attention. In 1995, the Humane Society of the United States filed a formal complaint about Lola’s condition. As you can tell by the need for this petition, nothing was done about the complaint.

We are hoping this petition will bring attention to Lola’s horrific situation and will encourage people to act. Lola deserves a habitat where she can be comfortable and use her natural instincts. She deserves companionship and all the luxuries of the wild she’s been stripped of her whole life.

If there’s an issue you care about in your community or the world, you can start a Care2 petition like Maddie L.’s. Care2′s community of activists will join you in your cause and help you make a difference.




Chrissie R
Chrissie Rabout a year ago

Thank you for posting.

Feather W.
Feather W3 years ago

keep the pressure up.....

Bu M.
Bu M3 years ago

BAN all seaquariums. Punish the owners w/heavy fines & jail time

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Fi T.
Past Member 4 years ago

Respect others' right of survival, regardless of species

Jim Ven
Jim Ven4 years ago

thanks for the useful article.

Angela K.
Angela K4 years ago

Petition signed & shared

Jacqueline GLYDE4 years ago


Nikki Davey
Nikki Davey4 years ago

Get orcas back into the oceans.

Mahmoud Khalil
Mahmoud Khalil4 years ago

sad to hear that even i signed the petition