Don’t Let Lolita’s Family be ‘Dammed.’ Set the Water Free.

While the fight to save Lolita, “the world’s loneliest orca,” is ongoing, her relatives — the southern resident orcas — also need saving. Orca advocates in Seattle, Washington are making an urgent appeal: set the water in the Snake River dams free and save endangered orcas.

Lolita’s Family

While there have been a handful of recent calf sightings of southern residents that have orca lovers jumping for joy, there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done. The baby boom hasn’t changed their endangered listing or fixed what’s causing their overall decline.

Including Lolita, there are roughly 83 individuals grouped in 3 different pods — J,K and L (Lolita is a member of the L pod) — and all three pods are in danger of extinction. While there were closer to 200 southern residents in the late 1800s, human activity has devastated their numbers. In the 1960s, the killer whales took a huge hit when approximately 47 southern residents were abducted by the captivity industry.

Set the Water Free!

But in this case, the culprit isn’t the captivity industry — it’s a series of dams. As reported in KING 5 News, southern residents eat almost exclusively Chinook salmon, and the dams are bad news for the salmon. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service describes that dams can be harmful to salmon because they:

1. Block migration
2. Create deep pools that a) inundate spawning habitat or b) block access to important spawning habitat
3. Change entire ecosystems

The Chinook salmon that the southern residents depend on have “lost spawning grounds statewide to dams.” Fewer reproducing salmon means less food for orcas. But activists see an easy solution: set the water free! They believe that releasing the water — that spans over 5,000 miles of river bed — “could restore more than a half million chinook.”

The problem is much bigger than the southern residents not having enough to eat. Without enough nourishment, the orcas metabolize their own blubber — which can be lethal. According to KING 5 News, the Chinook salmon also determine the sex of orca calves. If there’s inadequate food, often more males are born. Of the 5 calves born during the recent baby boom, 4 were male.

Take Action!

Lolita needs a family to return home to. While we can’t just set her free from that concrete tank at the Miami Seaquarium, we can set the dam water free to feed her relatives. Please sign and share this petition urging Washington’s senators — Senator Maria Cantwell and Senator Patty Murray — to set the water free and save the endangered southern residents.

Photo Credit: Ingrid Taylar

167 comments

Miss D.
Shari F2 years ago

Veronique, there is another article on Care2 with an update on Lolita's situation. PETA and other organisations are suing the USDA on the grounds that Palace Entertainment (who now own Lolita after she was sold to them from SeaWorld in 2014) should not have been granted a license to keep her. The article is on this link: http://www.care2.com/causes/usda-gets-sued-in-latest-effort-to-free-lolita-the-lonely-orca.html You can help Lolita by going onto this link http://www.savelolita.org/ (scroll to the bottom to find out how to write to PE to request they release her).

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Veronique L.
Veronique L2 years ago

She's spent her whole life in this tiny tanks, it breaks my heart

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Veronique L.
Veronique L2 years ago

Totally heartbreaking

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Veronique L.
Veronique L2 years ago

When will they close these places?

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Veronique L.
Veronique L2 years ago

So sorry for this poor Lolita

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Mark Donner
Mark Donner2 years ago

I hope some revolutionaries jsut take it into their own hands and blow up those dams.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus C2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Shari R.
Shari F2 years ago

To finish:

'Help the Tsleil-Waututh Nation send a clear message to Canada's new government that this risky project will not get built without First Nations consent. The Tsleil-Waututh are standing up to the Canadian government for running roughshod over its constitutional rights by failing to consult them about the pipeline; failing to comply with its own environmental assessment laws; and setting up an unfair, one-sided, and deeply flawed review process. Earlier this year, SumOfUs helped Tsleil-Waututh representatives visit Kinder Morgan’s offices, along with investors who hold a whopping $10 billion worth of shares in the company. The CEO definitely took notice -- especially because of the strength of the opposition to this pipeline and the strong legal position of the First Nation. The Tsleil-Waututh Nation is protecting Canada’s beautiful coast for all of us. Will you stand with them?'

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Shari R.
Shari F2 years ago

To continue:

'Help the Tsleil-Waututh Nation send a clear message to Canada's new government that this risky project will not get built without First Nations consent. The Tsleil-Waututh are standing up to the Canadian government for running roughshod over its constitutional rights by failing to consult them about the pipeline; failing to comply with its own environmental assessment laws; and setting up an unfair, one-sided, and deeply flawed review process. Earlier this year, SumOfUs helped Tsleil-Waututh representatives visit Kinder Morgan’s offices, along with investors who hold a whopping $10 billion worth of shares in the company. The CEO definitely took notice -- especially because of the strength of the opposition to this pipeline and the strong legal position of the First Nation. The Tsleil-Waututh Nation is protecting Canada’s beautiful coast for all of us. Will you stand with them?'

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Shari R.
Shari F2 years ago

I've had this message from SumOfUs which is a campaigning organisation. The Salish Sea is where Lolita's family live. They wrote:

'American pipeline giant Kinder Morgan wants to put an entire coastline and communities at risk -- all for more profit from yet another flawed tar sands pipeline.
This pipeline is one of the worst: the Canadian government has weakened environmental laws at the request of the oil industry just to get this thing approved. It would put Vancouver's stunning harbour and the whole Salish Sea in danger of an Exxon-Valdez sized spill, and we can't let that happen. But in this David vs. Goliath battle, we have a secret weapon -- the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation. They have just filed a landmark case in federal courts that could derail the whole pipeline project -- if they have funds to fight it all the way. Kinder Morgan can say what it likes about pipeline safety, but it has a bad track record of keeping its pipelines from spilling. It is responsible for over 500 pipeline violations since it was founded in 1997.
This lawsuit is our best chance to stop an almost inevitable disaster -- history shows us that courts overwhelmingly rule in favour of First Nations’ constitutional rights. And if the Tsleil-Waututh win their legal battle, it could change the way all pipelines are approved from now on, ensuring better public consultation.
Help the Tsleil-Waututh Nation send a clear message to Canada's new government that this risky project will not get bu

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