US Officials Impose Ban on trainers from performing with killer whale Lolita at Florida aquatic park

US Officials Impose Ban on trainers from performing with killer whale Lolita at Florida aquatic park

A Florida aquatic park has been asked to stop performances in which trainers swim with a killer whale. US health and safety officials have ordered the park to do so. According to the Miami Seaquarium, a citation has been issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The order has been passed to end performances with the killer whale, named Lolita.

Seaquarium said that Miami Seaquarium has agreed to take out trainers from the water during performances with Lolita. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency granted Lolita the same endangered species protection as her wild relatives in February. Lolita has spent about 45 years in captivity. It lives in a tank at the Seaquarium. It is a 11-metre wide and six-metre deep tank.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have asked for a boycott of the Miami Seaquarium in the face of the ruling.

According to PETA Foundation's director of animal law Jared Goodman, "Even with this ruling, Lolita remains alone in the smallest orca tank in the US, and PETA urges people to boycott the Miami Seaquarium until it releases Lolita to a seaside sanctuary where she would be reunited with family".

The decision has been taken four months after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration classified the killer whale as endangered. Its wild relatives have also been classified as endangered and it has paved the way for potential lawsuits. Earlier, Lolita was exempted from the endangered species list as a result of her captive status.

According to PETA, Lolita is a 7,000-pound (3,175 kilograms) orca and was captured in 1970 nearly 50 miles northwest of Seattle.