On January 14, 2015 Animal Rights Foundation of Florida (ARFF) posted the following on their Facebook page:
Recent drone videos taken above Lolita's tank touched a nerve at the Miami Seaquarium. This week ARFF received a phone call from the Federal Aviation Administration. They wanted to know if we owned a drone (ARFF doesn't, but we'd love to have one!). Apparently, the Miami Seaquarium complained about an aerial video that we recently shared here. Video links: http://youtu.be/kmFB3_MDvCA and http://youtu.be/cyYV4xlsZMo
Lolita demonstrates the will to fight for a better life in recently captured new drone footage above the Miami Seaquarium. The video shows Lolita actively swimming around her tank, not logging on the surface as many of the whales at SeaWorld have been so often documented. This powerful footage was captured closer than any of the previously released drone footage.
Watch the video below:
video: Johnny Tsunami/YouTube
Lolita is the last surviving captive Southern Resident Killer Whale and the subject of a lasting battle to have her returned back to her family. Ocean Sun, the whale thought to be her mother, is still alive in the Salish Sea.
Orca Network has been fighting for years to have Lolita released. ON’s Howard Garrett had this to say when he viewed the footage:
“It's beautiful. It shows her doing exercises. I've seen her go through the gates at full speed, doing laps around the entire perimeter. I think that demonstrates how she stays in good shape, and it tells me she still has faith she'll go home someday.”
Animal Welfare Institute's Naomi Rose agrees that she thinks the activity in this video is not unusual for Lolita.
We are hoping that Lolita will one day be returned to her family where she belongs. NOAA has now agreed to consider including Lolita as a member of an endangered population, and on January 24, 2014 NOAA proposed a rule to grant Lolita endangered status with her family. The comment period drew 19,190 comments, with the final determination expected in late January 2015.
Stay tuned to Ocean Advocate News for the latest developments.