For Immediate Release: May 5, 2014

(Miami, FL) – Tomorrow (Tuesday, May 6), the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners will consider a resolution “authorizing and approving” the sale of the Miami Seaquarium to Festival Fun Parks.

The Animal Rights Foundation of Florida (ARFF) is urging Miami-Dade County to add conditions to the sale that would benefit the Miami Seaquarium’s best-known resident, the orca “Lolita”.

In a letter to Mayor Gimenez and Commissioners, ARFF urged the County to explore releasing Lolita back into the waters of her birth. Marine mammal experts have proposed a plan in which Lolita would be transferred to a coastal sea pen in Washington State, and, once she re-learns the skills necessary for survival, be reunited with her family in the wild. If rehabilitation and release is not possible, ARFF recommended that the Miami Seaquarium and/or Festival Fun Parks be required to bring Lolita’s small tank up to current standards. The tank—just 35 feet wide by 80 feet long—has long been a focus of concern. The tank is the smallest for an orca in North America. ARFF believes that the tank does not meet the minimum dimensions required by the federal Animal Welfare Act.

“Lolita has suffered in the same barren tank at the Miami Seaquarium for close to 45 years,” said ARFF’s Communications Director Don Anthony. “The sale is an opportunity to demand that Lolita be released back into the waters of her birth, a request that has been repeatedly denied by the Seaquarium’s current owners.”

*A copy of ARFF’s letter is available upon request.

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