Some two dozen people demonstrated this Saturday in Miami to demand the release of the orca Lolita , whose capture is half a century in 2020, and its transfer from a private aquarium in the city to a marine sanctuary.

The animal, which was captured in 1970 off the coast of Washington state (northwestern United States), is locked up in "one of the smallest orca tanks in the world," according to protest organizers.

"Lolita has suffered for more than half a century in the smallest orca tank in the world and we are asking the Miami aquarium to transfer Lolita to a coastal sanctuary," one of the organizers of the protest, the Puerto Rican José Rodríguez .

The organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has been fighting to free the killer whale for decades and recently asked, in a letter, to Miami-Dade Attorney General Katherine Fernández Rundle to investigate the Miami Seaquarium for animal abuse, a request to which the prosecutor has not yet responded.

For this reason, the activists, wearing their masks and posters, urged the population passing by Brickell Avenue , the financial district of the city of Miami, to "do your part and never go to marine parks where there are animals in captivity".

With proclamations like "free Lolita" or "Half a century of sadness", protesters like the Venezuelan Natasha Araos also insisted that "animals must be in nature."

Piqué and Shakira with Lolita at the Miami Seaquarium in 2012.CORDON PRESS

"We really must educate people about what is happening and become a little aware because animals are not ours. We cannot force any animal to entertain us and they should be free," argued Araos.

The protest, which lasted about an hour, featured a plastic fish tank in which there was a small killer whale locked inside and one of the protesters dressed as a prisoner to symbolize the confinement with chains.

In the wild, orcas usually swim a hundred miles a day (160 kilometers) and dive tens of meters deep, however, Lolita only has a tank of about sixty feet (18 meters) in length, although this is divided into two pools with a main 35 feet (10 meters).

Rodríguez assured that "Lolita cannot do anything except float without energy and swim in circles all day long . "

Activists claim that this tank does not even comply with the measures dictated by the Animal Welfare Law , which requires that it be at least 80 feet (24 meters) long, that is, twice the length of an adult killer whale.

In addition, Lolita has not had contact with any other member of her species since the death of Hugo with whom she lived and who died in 1980 in the city's aquarium.

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