Subject: Killer whale: Dies, Yaka and Lolita (fwd)

Mike Williamson (pita@www1.wheelock.edu)
Fri, 31 Oct 1997 13:49:43 -0500 (EST)

Subject: Yaka and Lolita

Here's the Miami version of Yaka's obit...


32-YEAR OLD FEMALE ORCA DIES

Vallejo, Calif. =97 Yaka was one of two performing killer whales at Marine
World in northern California. She was a year younger than Lolita, the orca
on display at the Miami Seaquarium. Yaka was one of the three oldest orcas
in captivity. Lolita is the oldest.=20

Yaka died October 29 after a lengthy illness. Female orcas in the wild live
to an average of over 50 years and may live over 80 years. Yaka=92s death i=
s
symbolic of the =93tragedy and travesty of captivity,=94 said Howard Garret=
t,
Miami coordinator of the Lolita Project for the Progressive Animal Welfare
Society (PAWS) of Seattle, Washington. Marine World has been called upon to
take a leading role in the process of rehabilitating 20-year old Vigga, its
remaining orca, for potential release to the wild.

"I am deeply saddened by the death of Yaka,=94 said Garrett, who had visite=
d
Yaka in early September. =93Her death heightens concern that Lolita is livi=
ng
on borrowed time.=94 =20

=93Another life was wasted,=94 commented Dr. Paul Spong on Yaka's death. Sp=
ong
has been studying Yaka's family pod in the inland waters of British Columbi=
a
for the past 27 years, and has long advocated the return of captive orcas t=
o
their natural families.

Speaking from OrcaLab, his whale research station in British Columbia, Spon=
g
said,  =93Yaka should have had a chance to rejoin her family. For years we'=
ve
known exactly which family Yaka belongs to. Her mum is still alive, so are
two sisters. It would have been simple to put them back together again. Yak=
a
was in the prime of life for an orca female in the ocean. Under normal
conditions she would have probably been a mother by now.=94

Lolita was captured from Pacific Northwest waters in 1970, one year after
Yaka=92s capture took place about 300 miles to the north. 26 members of
Lolita=92s family who were present when Lolita was captured are still alive=
,
probably including her mother. The community Lolita was taken from is made
up of 92 orcas living in one big extended family that never breaks up.
Lolita is an excellent candidate for rehabilitation for potential release t=
o
her native waters and natural family.

Asked to speculate about the causes of Yaka's death, orca scientist Spong
responded: =93Human ignorance, folly, greed. Take your pick. Personally, I
feel very sad about this, for Yaka, for her family, and for the loss of wha=
t
we could have learned about orcas.=94

For more information, please contact Howard Garrett at (305) 672-4039, or
email to tokitae@rockisland.com.
*************************

Howard Garrett
Lolita campaign
PAWS
Box 1037
Lynnwood WA  98046
425-787-2500, Ext. 842
Fax: 425-742-5711
hgarrett@paws.org
or tokitae@rockisland.com
=20
To see more about Lolita, visit: =20
http://www.paws.org/lolita