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Founded 1977

Save The Whales' purpose is to educate children

and adults about marine mammals, their

environment and their preservation. 

Spyhop - Maris Sidenstecker I
Orca Spyhopping in the Wild, Puget Sound Area
Photo by Maris Sidenstecker I -1977

 Locations below In United States and London

This day is for Lolita, an orca held at the Miami Seaquarium for 44 years after she was violently taken from her family in 1970 at about age four. The Miracle March is to demonstrate that orca captivity needs to end. Lolita has been in a small concrete tank that is illegal by the letter of the Animal Welfare Act. To "comply," the width of the show tank is combined with the length of the back tank to arrive at a legal measurement.

In the wild, she could swim up to 100 miles a day, but she is confined in a space less than 60 x 80 feet. Lolita's longevity in a tank is extraordinary even by orca standards. Studies have shown that orcas in captivity live much less than half their normal lifespan. Read her story.

Lolita is an intelligent marine mammal. After years of entertaining customers and making huge sums of money for her captors, she deserves retirement. The goal is to have her released back to her native waters and her family.  

She has called out to her family every day for 44 years and not heard a response. The march aims to provide her with that response, and tell the world that Lolita has existed in a small tank for most of her adult life. It's time to let her live her remaining days in a coastal sanctuary with humane caretakers and scientists with her best interests at stake.
The plan is to re-enter her into native waters by means of a protected sanctuary (see the plan under Read her story above). It is a solid plan and she is in good health. All the orcas captured during the siege on the orcas in Puget Sound, off of Washington state, are dead except for her. 

Come together to be her voice and ask for her freedom. Please be a part of this history and if you cannot be present, sign her petition.




Colorado Springs, CO

Las Vegas, NV   

London  - (event against Taiji Dolphin Capture) 

Miami, Florida 

San Diego, CA     

Seattle, WA 


SeaWorld vs. Save The Whales Debate (1992)

Maris Sidenstecker II's Description of The Debate


Behind the scenes of this 1992 debate was the influence of SeaWorld trying to squash the truth about their aquaria. At this time, SeaWorld was owned by Anheuser-Busch, makers of Budweiser beer, and they were a major advertiser on the host television station. Save The Whales had been invited by the station to participate in a debate with a SeaWorld veterinarian, Dr. Jim McBain, regarding the captive orca named "Corky."  

I had worked to save the whales since I was 14, co-founded Save The Whales with my mother (she has the same name), and I was a marine biologist. I had studied orcas in the wild with researchers in the waters off British Columbia, including Corky's family. She had been taken from her family at age three. Corky was born in 1969 and is still living at SeaWorld, San Diego.
When I arrived at the television studio, I was led to an annex separated from the main newsroom with a small monitor in front of me. The debate was supposed to work with the SeaWorld veterinarian and I reading the questions on the monitor. Then each of us would have time to respond. The technician who put the microphone on me before the live five-minute debate said, "Budweiser does major advertising on this station and they do not want you to talk. Watch out."

As soon as the debate began, the questions began scrolling faster and faster until there was no way to read them. I started talking over the newscaster and the SeaWorld veterinarian to refute the SeaWorld lies about orca lifespans. Dr. McBain said in 1992 that Corky was listed in "poor" health due to her being an older, aging animal. This untruth is easily disputed as she is still alive 20+ years later. This is part of the SeaWorld script, i.e., to downplay orca longevity in order to cover up their early deaths in captivity. Corky had seven pregnancies and the longest a calf lived was 45 days. To learn more about the sad truth of orca captivity, watch the documentary Blackfish. Go to our website and help us work against the captivity of orcas and educate people about the real lives of these incredible mammals in the wild. See the debate on YouTube:


Thank you to everyone for your end-of-the-year giving and for the contributions we received through Monterey Gives 2014. It is very appreciated.


M1 signature   

Maris Sidenstecker I 

Executive Director, Save The Whales 

501(c)(3) nonprofit organization  

Captive Information

The documentary Blackfish turned the captive orca industry on its ear. If you have not seen the documentary,,  check the Blackfish website.

New Owners Miami Seaquarium

The Miami Seaquarium was purchased  in July 2014, by Palace Entertainment, owned by Parques Reunidos, which owns over 70 theme parks including Marineland, Antibes in France.  
The Orca Network has asked the CEO of Palace Entertainment to consider Lolita's health and welfare and the image of Palace Entertainment in their decisions about Lolita's retirement. Palace Entertainment's actions toward Lolita will be very important to a great many people, and their image could suffer or  soar depending on whether they hinder or help her to return home.

Lolita, also known as  

The Washington State Transportation Com- mission named two new ferries, and they chose Northwest Indian names. Both names - Tokitae and Samish - are associated with orcas.   Lolita is also known as Tokitae.

Lolita is Member of Pod Listed as Endangered

Lolita is stuck in  the  smallest orca tank in North America while the rest of her family pod swims free. Lolita is a member of the Southern Resident orca popu- lation, a group of orcas who are now protected as an endangered species.
This designation is in part because Lolita's capture and similar captures decimated the population. Inexplicably, Lolita has been denied the same protection as her free-roaming family.
  Efforts are ongoing to give Lolita the same protection as the rest of her family members.

Public Service Announcement 

See the very moving
produced to highlight Lolita's plight through no fault of her own. 

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