Lolita’s Story: Lessons on Orca Whales in Captivity
Gigi begins this presentation by discussing killer whales; explaining where they live, how they choose to go about their day, and explaining their strong family bond. Then Gigi will introduce Lolita, a whale who was living in the Salish Sea off Whidbey Island, WA when she was taken from her family on August 8, 1970.
Lolita was one of seven orcas captured that day - many others were killed - she was shipped to the Miami Seaquarium where she has been forced to perform tricks daily for the last 42 years. Lolita is confined alone, in the smallest orca tank in North America - a tank which fails to meet the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) minimum standards for housing a whale of her size. People have been campaigning to move Lolita into a sea pen within her home waters ever since she was captured. The hope is to eventually release her and allow her to live with her family pod for the rest of her life.
This seminar is a 45 minute PowerPoint slideshow, including video footage of wild and captive orca whales. Gigi will share her experience visiting Lolita in Miami and touch on the living conditions other marine mammals are experiencing in aquariums and amusement parks around the world. Lolita’s situation is typical for all orcas living in captivity, in showing her life we promote critical thinking about the practice of keeping animals confined for our entertainment.
Grades – 1 through 12
Time – 45 minutes
Audience – classroom or large group
Media – PowerPoint with video
Action – paint a 22 foot, life-size Lolita mural for display as a visual petition which kids can sign in support of Lolita’s retirement
Giveaway – bookmarks and pencils
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