Lolita-Tokitae has died. Shame on those who violently captured and ripped her away from her mother and clan in 1970. Shame on the Miami Seaquarium who kept her in a tiny, dirty concrete tank and forced her to perform for food. Shame on all those who have exploited for profit the critically endangered southern resident orcas. Shame on the multi-million-dollar whale-watching industry who has aggressively fought distance regulations and spent decades interfering with the orca’s ability to feed themselves. Shame on the boaters who surrounded Tahlequah after she gave birth, preventing her from communicating with her calf and other orcas from assisting. Shame on organizations who have paid themselves salaries to do nothing, writers who have profited from book sales, and paparazzi photographers who have chased the whales for a great shot.
Shame on humanity, for driving to extinction a gentle, peaceful species who managed to thrive for 700,000 years in this region until we turned them into a for-profit industry. I hope that every single person who has made money off the backs of the Southern Resident orcas feels the weight of Toki’s death on their collective shoulders.