- LeslieG 04/01/2023
A story with a sad beginning hopefully will have a happy ending. Did not realize the Lummi people consider Orca's to be part of their extended family or that Tokitae's mother is still alive so happy to hear they will be reunited through the efforts of people righting the original wrong,
"Tokitae’s ordeal began in the calm waters of Penn Cove, Whidbey Island – a quiet island off the coast of Washington State – five decades ago. Men with long sticks and guns corralled a group of resident killer whales, separating mothers from their calves. At least a dozen of those whales died during the capture, and more than 50 were kept for captive display."
"One of those calves was four-year-old Tokitae. Back home, the native Lummi people call her Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut – meaning that she is a member of Sk’aliCh’elh, the resident family of orcas who call the Salish Sea home. The tribe, who views killer whales as part of their extended family, have never stopped fighting for her release."
"Over the years multiple groups, including members of the Lummi nation and animal rights organizations, have called for the whale’s release from the Seaquarium, with some staging protests outside the facility."
"A “generous contribution” from Jim Irsay, owner of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, helped alleviate the financial questions around Toki’s future. “I know she wants to get to free waters,” Irsay said at a news conference Thursday in Miami. “I don’t care what anyone says. She’s lived this long to have this opportunity.”
"Toki’s relatives – members of the resident L-pod in the Salish Sea – are still alive, including the 90-year-old whale believed to be her mother. "
"the owners of the Miami Seaquarium where Tokitae lives announced a “formal and binding agreement” with a group called the Friends of Lolita to begin the process of returning Tokitae to Puget Sound. A news release indicates that the joint effort is “working toward and hope the relocation will be possible in the next 18 to 24 months”."
"Howard Garrett, founder of the non-profit Orca Network who has been advocating for Toki’s release for decades, says the news was lacking in specifics, but it set the tone for unified intention and action. “That’s what will make it happen. That will greatly influence the agencies and skeptics and naysayers,” he says. “This was a momentous historical event.”
Has this been done successfully in the past? Whales are social and travel in pods. Do they have the ability to join a pod? Be monitored? Fend for themselves? If not, then no. If these intelligent, beautiful beings can be free and have a quality of life, then yes...free all the Willys!
- Susan 04/03/2023
I really have mixed feelings on this topic. In previous attempts to release orca's that have been held captive for many years. The release has not gone well. The orcas have lost their natural ability the hunt food and have ended up not doing well. I worry about this orca's chances for survival.
On the other hand: I feel every creature should have the right to be free.
- Jane 04/03/2023
The animals should only be released if the Orcas can remain safe. We destroyed their natural life. When you know better, you do better.
honestly, i'm not sure. they shouldn't be in captivity in the first place. and NOW, 50 years later? will they be able to survive in the wild? i worry about them but have no solution.
- PLD 04/06/2023
It's time to put animal rights into action by freeing all Orca now in activity. As civilized human beings we need to put values into action
- Tyler 04/05/2023
How is this even a question. Incarcerating intelligent social beings for the entertainment of people who are largely ignorant of the cruelty they are supporting is shameful and indefensible.
- Kevin 04/04/2023
We need to protect this species in wild. Captivity is for species that are functionally extinct in the wild.
- Stevie 04/02/2023
WoW what an awesome adventure the Orca would have and eventually tag onto a pod and be back in a true world of wonder teaching tricks in the wild
- Sandee 04/03/2023
I hope the statement 'For now, Lolita will be relocated to an ocean sanctuary with netting where she can receive care from trainers.' is true. They need to make sure of long term survival when released.
- John 04/03/2023
Unless any animal can be sustained in a captive environment that fully mimics its wild habitat, then they should not be captured, or, if already captive, then released into their natural habitat. Accordingly, captive orcas should all be released since no marina can afford to fully simulate the orcas' natural habitat.
- RoyB 04/03/2023
Yes, the Orcs should be released to the vast, spacious oceans. No way to make their lives comfortable in such depressing small spaces. Even if one creates 1,000 acres of water, Orcs would not be happy. So just let them go to the ocean where they'll romp happily.
- Lynda 04/02/2023
He needs to be free! I think they have made alot of money off of him! let him live out his life free!