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Zoo Logic

Apr 13, 2023

The social and traditional media response in the wake of news that owners of Miami Seaquarium have partnered with groups bent on returning ailing 57 year old Lolita to her home waters of the Pacific Northwest after more than 50 years in human care has been extraordinary. With few details about how such a project would be completed and sustained safely and successfully for her and the few remaining critically endangered southern resident killer whales, we asked researcher Dr. Jason Bruck and Orca Conservancy Executive Director, Shari Tarantino to discuss the huge gaps in scientific knowledge that need to be filled before such a move can be seriously contemplated and authorized by regulatory agencies. Remarkably, given the potential zoonotic risks to the resident whales and the ongoing threats to their survival like acoustic noise, pollution, and most of all, starvation from dwindling salmon stocks, Shari and her team oppose such a move despite the fact her organization was originally created in the mid 1990's to return Toki to her home waters. Both Shari and Jason agree that any decision to relocate her must be based on objective science and behavioral data that ensures her welfare, not what makes people feel good.

Animal Care Software