PETITION TO FREE TOKITAE

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To the people of California, so recently enthralled by multiple Killer Whale sightings in our local waters...

To the people of Washington, many of whom take great pride in their state's natural splendors ...

To the people of Florida, who live nearest this tragic scene as it plays out...

To all people of the United States of America who believe that no person, corporation, or government agency is above the law...

My name is Dale Frink, and I am just one voice amongst millions of Americans, but I am not alone in what I have to say. For over 40 years an Orca named Tokitae, known as "Lolita" in her captive environment, has been kept in cruel confinement at the Miami Seaquarium in Florida.

She was taken from the wild in the now infamous hunt at Penn Cove, during that hunt several Orcas (including calves) were killed and their deaths gruesomely covered up.  Tokitae and another Orca, a male called Hugo, ended up in the Miami Seaquarium.  Hugo would eventually die from stress related injuries while confined there.

In her confinement at the aquarium, she is kept in a tank that is so small that it violates the Animal Welfare Act.  It is so shallow that she is longer (21 ft) than the tank is deep (20 ft at its deepest, 12 ft at shallowest).  The USDA, the government agency in charge of enforcing the Animal Welfare Act, has consistently allowed the Miami Seaquarium to continue operating despite this clear violation.  The Animal Welfare act requires a disturbingly low minimum enclosure size of 48 feet in length for Orcas in captivity.  Tokitae's current tank is only thirty five feet across, and she's lived there for forty years.

In addition to the cramped conditions, Tokitae has no other Orcas to socialize with, despite socialization being an important part of an Orca's daily life.  She has inadequate protection from the sun, and almost no protection from harassment by patrons.  

Tokitae's family is "L Pod", one of the three pods that make up the extremely endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales which recently gained added legal protection due to their declining status.  After a series of tragic deaths, the Southern Resident Killer Whales now number fewer than eighty individuals.  The hunt at Penn Cove, and other hunts, are one of the causes of this decline as healthy females and young calves were targeted by the hunters.  There is hope however, that her mother and other blood relatives could be alive, which would be integral to returning her back into the wild.

The Miami Seaquarium claims that their captivity is humane and meets rigorous standards, it clearly does not as defined by the Animal Welfare Act.  They claim that moving her would prevent problems to her health, but they didn't seem to care much about that when they took her and sad as it may seem there are techniques that can be used to safely transport her back to Washington.  In that state there are many experts who could oversee her transition back to oceanic life.  

The goal of this petition is threefold.  Number one, Tokitae needs a better life and she needs it NOW. Two, her compelling story will continue to raise awareness of the plight of the Southern Resident Killer Whales.  Lastly, we will hopefully see a US government agency stop enforcing the laws that they have been tasked to enforce at their own discretion.  The Miami Seaquarium is not above the law!

We need 100,000 signatures in just 30 days in order to accomplish this.  That's well over 3,000 signatures a day and a very lofty goal for one person with one voice.  But many voices joined in unison can make a lot of noise, and Tokitae is well worth it.  On January 17th, 2015, thousands of people from around the country will be marching for Tokitae to promote her release.  Even if this petition doesn't get the signatures it needs, you will hear plenty of noise from a lot of good people that Saturday!

The whitehouse.gov website also stipulates that it may decline to address issues regarding enforcement of items that fall under the jurisdiction of a government agency.  It's a risk we will have to take.  To quote Edmund Burke, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

CLICK HERE TO ASK THE WHITE HOUSE TO COMPLY WITH THE LAW, FREE TOKITAE AND RIGHT A TRAGIC WRONG!