VIRGINIA KEY, Fla. — Lolita, an orca whale, died Friday at the Miami Seaquarium.
In a statement on Facebook, the Miami Seaquarium confirmed that Lolita, also known as Tokitae or Loki, died after she had been experiencing signs of discomfort recently. Seaquarium and Friends of Loki’s medical team treated her immediately and aggressively.
Miami Seaquarium officials believe the orca may have had a renal condition.
She died as caregivers were preparing to have her moved from the Seaquarium in the near future, The Associated Press reported. She had been held in captivity since 1970.
Lolita was 57 years old, according to WFTV. She also weighed 5,000 pounds.
“Toki was an inspiration to all who had the fortune to hear her story and especially to the Lummi nation that considered her family. Those of us who have had the honor and privilege to spend time with her will forever remember her beautiful spirit,” the Miami Seaquarium said.
Animal rights activists worked for years to have her freed from her tank, according to the AP. The park’s new owner, the Dolphin Company, and Friends of Loki in March announced a plan to move her to a natural sea pen in the Pacific Northwest.
Lolita had retired from performing last spring as a condition of a new exhibitor’s license with the United States Department of Agriculture, according to the AP. She had not been seen publicly since.
The Miami Seaquarium opened in 1955 on Virginia Key, which according to WFTV is just east of downtown Miami. It has dolphins, sea lions, manatees, reef fish and even sharks.