Lolita's 40th Year in Captivity

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Lolita's 40th Year in Captivity

By Bev Hahler on This Dish is Veg

Daniel Azarian's 'Save Lolita the Orca' PSA to screen at film festival

This month is a sad anniversary for Lolita, a killer whale housed at the Miami Seaquarium. Forty years ago she was violently separated from her family in Puget Sound, Washington, and transferred to a tank only 20 foot deep.

At only four times her size at its widest point, the tank appears to be illegally small under Department of Agriculture regulations.

Many are calling for Lolita to be retired to a coastal sanctuary, and Underdog Entertainment (a New York based production company), has announced that "Save Lolita" will be screened at the opening night reception of the Hamptons Conservation and Wildlife Film Festival, September 24-26, 2010.

The public service announcement (PSA) hopes to raise awareness of Lolita's plight, and its director Daniel Azarian will will speak at the reception along with third generation ocean explorer and film maker Fabien Cousteau.

"Research clearly shows that orcas are sentient, emotional and highly intelligent beings, who are aware of their surroundings. To see such a beautiful 22-foot creature in a tiny 35-foot-wide tank seems inhumane. I felt compelled to do something," explains Azarian.

The Hamptons Conservation and Wildlife Film Festival features some of the finest international conservation, natural history and wildlife films. This world wide traveling event (showcasing 50 films from 20 countries) runs from September 24 - 26 at the Bay street Theater in Sag Harbor, and the Lolita PSA will be shown during the Friday evening reception.