MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Seaquarium says Lolita the killer whale is “feeling much” better after routine tests showed she was “feeling under the weather.”
The statement about Lolita was released after PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, claimed the killer whale was reportedly “deathly sick from pneumonia,” and “could now die any day.”
PETA called for the Seaquarium, which it has done numerous times, to “shutdown before any more animals suffer and die in its tanks.”
Lolita is a 7,000-pound whale that has spent nearly all of her life in what PETA says is the smallest orca tank in North America.
Miami Seaquarium attending veterinarian Dr. Shelby Loos said the marine park noticed Lolita wasn’t feeling well after routine diagnostic tests, done regularly on all of their geriatric animals, showed some abnormalities in her bloodwork, which prompted treatment.
“Despite her advanced age, she has been steadily improving and feeling better,” according to the statement. However, the statement did not specify what caused her bloodwork abnormalities.
Lolita, whose real name is Toki, is believed to be 56 years old, making her the oldest killer whale living in captivity.
Dr. Loos’ statement also reads, “Toki has a dedicated, loving team of veterinarians and caregivers that closely monitors her health every day in order to provide the highest possible quality of care.” Dr. Loos said she oversees Toki’s care with other experienced veterinarians. “We also consult with several other expert veterinarians including Dr. Michael Renner, who has worked with Toki for years. I have the utmost confidence in the teams assembled to care for Toki and all our animals. Toki’s unprecedented longevity speaks to the quality care she has received over the years.”
Lolita was caught on August 8, 1970, in Penn Cove, Puget Sound in Seattle, Washington when she was about 4 years old. She was later sold to the Miami Seaquarium. When she first arrived, she lived alongside another orca named Hugo for about 10 years, but he died in 1980.
For years, Animal rights groups have wanted Lolita moved to “a protected cove sea pen,” where she can be transitioned to the ocean.