Challenge To USDA’s Decision To Renew License to Miami Seaquarium Where Orca Named Lolita Is Kept in Substandard Conditions

On behalf of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the Orca Network, and several individuals, we filed a case last week in the federal district court for Northern California challenging the USDA’s most recent decision to allow the Miami Seaquarium to renew its Animal Welfare license although it keeps the Orca named Lolita in conditions that violate the AWA – including a tank that is far below the agency’s own minimum standard set in 1978, without shelter from the intense Miami sun, and without any companions of her own species.  Lolita was captured from the wild in the 1970s off the coast of Washington State and is a member of the L-pod of the Southern Resident Killer Whales –  listed as an “endangered” species in 2005.  The suit seeks to have the Seaquarium’s AWA license set aside as unlawful, as a first step to having Lolita transferred to a more humane setting, and hopefully reintroduced into the wild.