Feds clear way for Dolphin Company to move into Miami Seaquarium site
The feds cleared the way for the Miami Seaquarium to transfer its lease to The Dolphin Company, Miami-Dade County’s mayor announced on Thursday night.
Mayor Daniella Levine Cava believes this will change the life of Lolita, also known as Tokitae, is a 20-foot long female orca that has lived at the Miami Seaquarium since 1970.
“Providing the highest standard of care for their marine inhabitants, including beloved orca Lolita, has been a top priority for me … I‘m hopeful that this transfer of ownership will usher in an era of accountability, transparency, and collaboration,” Levine Cava tweeted.
MS Leisure Company, a subsidiary of The Dolphin Company, has the USDA license to operate the Miami Seaquarium starting Friday, the company announced. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, an animal rights organization, celebrated the USDA’s decision since the license was conditional on no longer displaying Lolita or Lii, the dolphin confined with her.
“For the first time ever, the USDA is taking some action by tacitly acknowledging that Lolita’s tank cannot meet her needs. PETA is calling for this to be the first step toward releasing Lolita (and Lii) to a seaside sanctuary, before this long-suffering orca ends up dying in the same cramped tank she’s been confined to for over half a century,” Attorney Jared Goodman, of PETA, said in a statement.
Eduardo Albor, The Dolphin Company’s chief executive officer, credited Levine Cava and Miami-Dade Commissioner Raquel Regalado for the change.
“We are very excited to finally have completed the process to proceed with the operation and administration of the Miami Seaquarium,” Albor said in a statement, adding he was grateful for “the people who have dedicated their live staking care of all the animals … including the rescued manatees, sea lions, dolphins and indeed our beloved Lolita.”
This is a developing story. Assignment Desk Editor Emily Hales contributed to this report.
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I’m hopeful that this transfer of ownership will usher in an era of accountability, transparency, and collaboration for Miami Sequarium.
I’m grateful to all those from around the world who helped make this moment possible.