Save captive orcas !

Dear Captive Orcas

As a child i loved animals, big one, small one animals that could fly , crawl or swim. It was all so fascinating to me. I love animals so much as a child that going to pets mart was a major holiday for me. Growing up my mom allowed a number of animals into our home. I have had everything From bearded dragons to bunny rabbits. As a child i could sit and watch animal planet for hours. Weather i was learning about the great African planes or the depths of the deep pacific ,i was interested. As i grew my love for animals grew. I remember making my mom stop the car so i can watch a horseback rider cross the street . The very next week i was at JFL farms at my first horse back ridding lesson. I was about 10 years old. I can remember going to Sea World around this time and really understanding how Big killer whales were . I was one of many kids who got to touch and swim dolphins and see shamu. My love for animals continued as i grew older. At at 18 year old i was the proud owner of a 7 year old bay Arabian mare , a horse of my very own! My love for animals at this point was as an all time high. I was the owner of a 1000 pound horse who i could not get enough of. As i began to board my horse at different boarding facilitated my horse spent hours in a stall when i could not be around to ride her .This made my mind wonder and i began to create enrichment for my hose. Weather it was hanging a jolly ball from her stall for her to play with or exert feed in a hay net any thing to keep her busy. As the year grew i wanted to give my horse a companion so i did. I found a beautiful Thoroughbred mare and my 2 horses were inseparable. I no longer wanted my horses boarded in stalls, so i went to pasture boarding. In my opinion pasture boarding provides a more natural habitat for my horses they have 4 acres and other horses to run around with. They have plenty of space of they want to go off alone if they wanted. Horse are domesticated animal and i believe in giving them the best quality of life. For the last year or so my thought on orcas in captivity have been tainted. I have been overwhelmed with the back ground of where orcas in captivity come from. The 2013 documentary Black Fish sparked my mind to think differently . What i thought was the greatest show on earth was now a horror show! My heart goes out to one particular orca names lolita ! Lolita’s case is so pressing to me because orcas are highly intelligent animals who live in family groups call pods for thair whole lives. Lolita has spent a life of solitary confinement at the Miami sea Aquarium. she is know as the loan orca. On top of lolita being alone she is held in the smallest orca tank in the world . Lolita’s tank is four body length long and 20 feet deep . Lolita living conditions are horrible , from the depth of her tank to the size ,its all so depressing. In order for us to see orcas at sea world they are literally ripped from thair families at a very young age, most only around 5 years of age . This process consists of killing other orcas to get the young and preferable . The young orcas are then sent to off shore sea pens where they must adapt to a life of eat dead fish instead of seals , sea lions, and squid. The orcas that survive this point go through training to make them worth more to future buyers. Then are shipped around the world for humanentertainment . Some orcas are lost during this process. Orca have the same life expectancy as humans so this is the equivalent to enslaving a 5 year old child for amusement. We dump the serving orcas into tanks fill with chemicals to keep the water clear an eliminate the wheals waist. We make them perform in shoes 3–5 times a day for our amusement. One knows sign that captivity is having a negative effect on orcas is that 100% of captive orcas has a collapsed dorsal fin. This is most likely due to swimming in circles many years in a concrete bowl instead of long straight line with flowing currents. Now as human we are the ones who have placed killer whales in captivity for our amusement. Animal rights activists alleged that many tank fails to meet the minimum size requirements by the Animal Welfare Act for an animal thair size. My thoroughbred is 1200 pounds and she is on a few acres of land to support her

size. Lolita tank just does not support her enormous size at 44 years old. Keeping whales in captivity had been a billion dollar industry and now the world seem ready to realize the injustice we have done to these amazing whales. Now in Lolita’s case she has been in captivity for so many years that releasing her right back into the ocean would kill her, she is not use to catching food on her own. How ever there is a resolve. As my horse went from being in stall all day to pasture boarding to simulate a more natural environment. the same concept can be used in Lolita case. There is a an organization called http://www.savelolita.org/ A plan has been proposed by the Orca Network to retire Lolita to a transitional ocean sanctuary in her native waters in the Pacific Northwest. This orca sanctuary would allow Lolita to retire and feel the ocean currents once again. She would would be able to encounter her own kind,several pods regular pass these waters, her native pod being one of them. Lolita’s mother is said to still be alive. Lolita She would get to rub on the rocks along the sea floor witch is a natural behavior seen by orcas in the wild. At 44 years old Lolita could live 40 more years in the wild. This process is easier said the done. The cost is in the millions and there are no functioning sea pens today for orcas, this will be the first of its kind. This has been attempted already. The movie Free Willy stared an orca named Keiko. This orca was a captive orca who was released into a sea pen where he learns how to be in open ocean again. Keiko went on to living his final year as a free whale he even joined other orcas in the wild. This same method can be used as a blue print for other orcas to be returned to the wild today. Sea World holds 23 orcas in its three parks in the United States Lolita is one of many. In the world we have 52 orcas in captivity for our amusment. Sea world is courently moving to the end of its breeding program and phaseing out its killer whale shows. There is a debate on weather captive killer whles can service in the wild. I think it about time to give it a shot. We already have the blue prints. Our captive killer whles have does more then enough for human entertaainment. its now time to return our captive killer whles to the wild. Save lolita!

- Markell Japann Miller

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