By Howard Garrett, Orca Network
The campaign for Lolita's retirement is based on research by Ken Balcomb at the Center for Whale Research on San Juan Island. In 1995, Governor Mike Lowry, Sec. of State Ralph Munro and Balcomb announced the start of the Lolita Come Home campaign. Since then Orca Network has conducted a public awareness campaign to present the case for her return home.
Despite many demonstrations in Miami, a powerful documentary called Lolita – Slave to Entertainment, and much national attention on Lolita, the park is still making over $1 million a year from Lolita's circus routines and has refused to consider our proposal. Annual Penn Cove Capture Commemoration events are held each August 8.
In February, 2010, a distressed captive male orca named Tilikum killed his human companion, SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau. Public response to the traumatic event was immediate, intense, and sustained. Virtually every media report has mentioned that orcas should never be held captive in the first place.