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Woman Lives in Small Bathtub for a Month in Protest of Orca Being Kept in Captivity

New Zealander Danielle Daals is taking up a 30-day ‘Living like Lolita’ bathtub challenge in Miami to protest the captivity of a killer whale named Lolita. For the next one month, the 29-year-old activist will sit in a bathtub from 10am to 7pm outside Miami Seaquarium, in order to represent Lolita’s plight. Since 1970, the 22-foot whale  nicknamed ‘the world’s loneliest orca’ has been confined to a 60x80x20 foot pen, the smallest whale enclosure in North America. 

Daals, who has a permit to protest outside the park’s private property, will also carry a poster with a picture of Lolita and the words: “Swims 100 miles per day; confined to equivalent of a bath tub.” She hopes that her campaign will be effective in freeing the 3.2-ton whale from captivity and reuniting her with her pod of extremely rare and endangered Southern Resident killer whales near Puget Sound, off the coast of Seattle.

Living-Like-Lolita

Photo: YouTube video caption

So far, officials from Miami Seaquarium don’t seem very impressed by Daal’s efforts, or by the hundreds of protesters who are joining her every day, trying to dissuade visitors from entering the park. Naming the whale an “ambassador for her species”, they said that “Lolita will continue to receive the same care, stimulation and attention that she has for nearly 45 years.”

“There is no scientific evidence that the 49-year-old could survive if she were to be moved from her home at Miami Seaquarium to a sea pen or to the open waters of the Pacific Northwest,” they added, in a published statement.

Living-Like-Lolita3

Photo: YouTube video caption

Daals, however, is convinced that Lolita will be able to adapt in the wild given that she wasn’t too young when she was captured. “She was about six when she was taken from the wild, and because their brain size is about five times ours it’s hoped she will remember the things she learned, like how to feed,” she said.

In Miami, Daals is being hosted by a generous family who have given her a room of her own. She misses her family back in Lower Hutt, New Zealand, especially her two-year-old son, but the separation is a sacrifice she’s willing to make for Lolita’s cause. “I couldn’t help but cry as reality set in that, even though I’m with them, I really felt alone, you know?” she said. “I think during the week will be harder as people have to work so there won’t be as many people if any with me outside the seaquarium.”

 

“By embarking on this challenge, I will experience the same feelings of captivity, separation from my family boredom and stress that Lolita endures every day,” she wrote on her GoFundMe page, where she raised money to cover the cost of the protest. “It will be incredibly difficult for me to be away from my family for such a long time, but I know that my son will someday understand and admire me for fighting for what I believe in in this very brave way!”

via Stuff.co.nz

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