KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. – Wednesday brought welcome news for animal activists who, for years, have been pushing for better treatment for Lolita, the 56-year-old Orca known as Toki.
Miami-Dade County announced that with the Miami Seaquarium under new ownership, by The Dolphin Company, third party veterinarians will be allowed onto the property periodically to perform an independent medical evaluation to examine the health of the famed Orca.
This means the county will have more oversight when it comes to Toki’s care, and there will also be more transparency with the public.
It has not been decided when the evaluations will begin.
During a press conference Wednesday, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said she visited Toki.
“I saw Lolita with my own eyes and what a joy it was,” she said.
The new management would not say whether the Orca would be retired and moved to another, more suitable location than her current tank.
“This is a step-by-step process,” said Travis Burke, Regioinal Director for The Dophin Company. “Step one is to confirm the health of Toki at Miami Seaquarium.”
Nonprofit Sacred Sea released a statement upon learning the news. It read:
“Thank you, Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and Commissioner Regalado, for your leadership in working with The Dolphin Company CEO Edwardo Albor to agree to 3rd party independent vets to provide the best health care possible to our relative, Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut’s. Now she can begin to heal and to become her best self. I believe our ancestors are clearing Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut’s path home.”