Most of our readers here know that L-pod member "Lolita" is from a locally endangered population of orcas, one of only 86 of those whales left. Her life is far from ideal, and she is not being kept in a pool that is legal, even by the low standards set by the theme parks. And what we want to know is how this can be rectified.
Now how did that come to pass? Would it not have made more sense to offer her protection and then let the theme park petition to keep her? Would they then not have had to provide a legal pool for her?
And shouldn't biologists decide what are adequate facilities for marine mammals, not the theme parks themselves?
Yet we are conflicted…we have learned a great deal about orcas and other dolphins by studying captives, and we want to increase our knowledge. Reasonably enough, both polls (here and Facebook) show that if dolphins and whales are in captivity, most poll takers expressed that it should be for research purposes – although I think that there is far more to be gained by researching them in the wild at this point.
In the meantime, a member of a locally endangered species languishes in a sad theme park without the company of her own species, in a substandard pool.
I have written to both Senator Patty Murray and Senator Maria Cantwell and requested that they share with us explanations as to the government's lack of action, and will post their replies when I receive them.