Since 1970, Lolita the lonely orca has been living in a miniature tank in the Miami Seaquarium. The tank has been lauded as the smallest in North America, and Lolita has lived there in solitude for the past three decades as her mental and physical health deteriorate.
Orcas facts show that these sea creatures don't live a life conducive to cages. In the wild, the giants swim up to 100 miles a day and dive to depths of 100 feet. They're also very social and deeply emotional. They thrive on interaction, live within pods, and mourn the loss of their family. Their mental health deteriorates in solitude and small spaces, but sadly, killer whale abuse is not as uncommon as you'd think. Secrets of Sea World have been leaked to show the terrible treatment of orcas under their care. Because of the public outrage, Sea World no longer breeds killer whales in captivity and ended their controversial whale shows.
In the wild, female orcas can live to be over 100 years old. Currently, the oldest orca in captivity is a 52-year-old whale from Sea World named Corky. She is one year older than Lolita, whose family members held in captivity never made it out of the '80s. Though animal rights activists have been fighting for Lolita's release since she was taken in 1970, they have been largely unsuccessful. Only recently has the USDA given Lolita a glimmer of hope.