Killer whale Miami Seaquarium, According to the institution, Lolita, an orca whale who had been in captivity at the Miami Seaquarium since 1970, died Friday afternoon.
According to a Miami Seaquarium Instagram post, Lolita began exhibiting “serious signs of discomfort” over the last few days. She died on Friday afternoon from “what is believed to be a renal condition” after being treated “immediately and aggressively” by a medical team, according to the aquarium.
“Toki was an inspiration to all who had the fortune to hear her story, and especially to the Lummi nation that considered her family,” the Seaquarium stated. “Those of us who have had the honour and privilege of spending time with her will remember her beautiful spirit for the rest of our lives.”
Killer whale Miami Seaquarium NEWS
The 57-year-old whale, known as Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut by the Lummi people, was scheduled to be released back into the water in March, according to the Miami Seaquarium. Advocates located a natural sea pen off the coast of Washington state, including areas where Lolita’s family members still swim. Her 95-year-old mother is thought to be living.
It was unknown on Friday how Lolita’s condition had deteriorated in the week following the Seaquarium’s encouraging news. Later that day, the Seaquarium issued a statement saying that Lolita’s health had “deteriorated rapidly.”
“At her advanced age, her death is not entirely unexpected,” the institution added. “Yet it is a tremendous and overwhelming loss, one that is felt particularly by those who have loved and cared for her on a daily basis, as well as those around the world who care so much for her.”
“Our collective wish was to see Toki in her native waters, and we are heartbroken to learn of this sudden loss,” the mayor continued.
Eduardo Albor, CEO of The Dolphin Company, which operates the Miami Seaquarium, expressed his sadness over Lolita’s passing as well.
According to Friends of Toki, Lolita was one of the two oldest orcas in captivity and the only orca trapped in US waters that was still in captivity. She was caught off the Pacific Northwest in 1970. According to prior CNN reporting, the whale retired from public performance in 2022 and lived in an 80-by-35-foot tank.