Here’s a New Year’s resolution we can all get behind in 2018: Free the captive whales, at long last.
Bob Barker, in association with PETA, put out the social media challenge towards Miami Seaquarium in particular.
In a Jan. 3 YouTube video, the long-time Price Is Right host and TV icon issued the challenge to the Miami Seaquarium: Allow the lone orca at the park, Lolita, to be released into a seaside sanctuary where she can feel the ocean currents and communicate with her family once more.
“Lolita was torn away from her family decades ago and has lived in captivity for more than 47 lonely years,” Barker says in the video, which is set to air during The Price Is Right in January. “At Miami Seaquarium, her barren, concrete, and chemically treated enclosure is the smallest orca tank in the world.”
In a press release from PETA, we learn that Lolita has had no orca companionship since a tragic incident in 1980, “when her tank mate, Hugo, died from injuries sustained when he rammed his head into the tiny tank’s concrete wall.”
For 37 years, Lolita — the loneliest captive whale — has not had contact with another member of her species. However, if released to a sanctuary in her home waters, the whale might be able to interact with her original family pod, including one believed to be her mother, who is still thriving at over 80 years old.
“[E]nough is enough,” Barker concludes. “Miami Seaquarium, please, make your New Year’s resolution to release Lolita to a seaside sanctuary in 2018. Do not let her spend one more year in captivity.”
Barker joins celebrities like Jessica Biel, Daisy Fuentes, Wilmer Valderrama, Steve Aoki, Alan Cumming and Kate del Castillo in his desire to team up with PETA and help fight for Lolita’s freedom.
“Bob Barker banned furs as prizes from The Price Is Right, helped PETA persuade NASA to end radiation experiments on monkeys, and campaigned with PETA against traveling exotic-animal acts, leading to the closure of Ringing Bros. circus,” PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk tells Miami New Times. “Lolita has the best activist on her side in Bob Barker, and we hope the Miami Seaquarium will hear his plea.”