Environmentalist donating $1 million for orca Lolita’s care

56-year-old killer whale believed to facing health challenges

VIRGINIA KEY, Fla. – A businessman and environmentalist plans to commit $1 million toward the care of the Miami Seaquarium’s beloved orca Lolita, sources tell Local 10 News.

Key West real estate developer Pritam Singh was expected to announce the donation at a news conference Friday, but that event has since been canceled.

Local 10 has reported on the declining health of the 56-year-old killer whale, also known as Tokitae or Toki. Lolita has lived at the Seaquarium for over 50 years.

The orca was placed on 24-hour watch last week after reports surfaced that she has pneumonia, and according to PETA could die any day.

The Seaquarium has said Lolita’s health is improving and receiving the best possible care, but a recent former employee told Local 10 News that they believe the orca will never get better unless she gets out of the Seaquarium.

“I’m tired of seeing and hearing about all these animals dying at the Seaquarium,” the former employee said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “Enough is enough. It shouldn’t take Toki dying for people to actually get upset.”

In a statement, the Miami Seaquarium said in part: “Lolita is believed to be 56 years old, which would make her the oldest killer whale living under human care and the second-oldest orca of the Southern Resident Killer Whale population. Toki’s unprecedented longevity speaks to the quality care she receives. ...

“Toki continues to undergo regular diagnostics to have the most complete and up to date understanding of her condition as possible. She is constantly monitored closely by her team of dedicated and loving caregivers. We will continue monitoring Toki in such a way, as we do with all our geriatric animals, and will provide an update if there is a noteworthy change in her status.”

About the Authors:

Louis Aguirre is an Emmy-award winning journalist who anchors weekday newscasts and serves as WPLG Local 10’s Environmental Advocate.