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Miami Seaquarium's Lolita should not be freed, scientists say

MiamiHerald / For nearly 25 years, the Miami Seaquarium’s killer whale, Lolita, has been the star of a sequel that has never been made.

In 1995, inspired by the original tale of Keiko, the whale in the 1993 film “Free Willy,” a Washington state governor sought to make Lolita the next captive killer whale returned to the ocean. A fundraising campaign ensued, and soon it seemed that Free Lolita could be the next real-life Free Willy.

Former Gov. Mike Lowry’s vision has since spawned hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations, more than a dozen lawsuits and annual protests at the Miami Seaquarium on Aug. 8 – the anniversary of Lolita’s 1970 capture off Puget Sound. Moms with their kids, college students in whale costumes and out-of-state advocates turn up on Virginia Key each year to support the Free Lolita movement.

But often lost in the well-meaning attempts to return Lolita home is one central question: Is freedom really what’s best for her?

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