What's Right for Whales?

Lolita at Seaquarium
Photo by NG
Lolita's tank for 37 years.
Photo by NG

*I don't know why this is double-spaced and couldn't fix it.

I've got great news and bad news. I've been asked by a rather famous publishing company to write (another book) about a dolphin and an autistic child. This is a first for me. Usually, I struggle to come up with an idea, struggle (often for years) to write it, then enjoy numerous rejection letters before finding a publisher, or giving up and putting it on a shelf in the closet with my other failures. To be honest, I hardly know how to act under these circumstances. 


I've been working on this book since April and am getting there. The bad news is I have to visit the Miami Seaquarium to finish up my research.

A portion of Dolphin Sky took place at the Seaquarium. It was a cruddy little place back then. Hugo, the Killer whale, was the star attraction, as was one of the Flippers. Hugo died, so they replaced him with Lolita. (There's a movie about her capture entitled, Lolita.)


A few nights ago CNN showed the new documentary Blackfish, about the Orca that killed his trainer at Sea World in Orlando. I'm begging you to see this movie. 

BLACKFISH is available on Netflix after 11/12/13.     

By Elizabeth Batt
Jun 27, 2013 in Environment

Miami - Time is running out for a solitary orca held at Miami Seaquarium. Lolita, also called Tokitae, was one of the first whales in a brutal roundup that captured orcas for display in marine parks between 1965 and 1973.

Lolita is the last surviving orca of about 45 members of the Southern Resident community who underwent a brutal capture that saw several other orcas perish in the attempt. For more than 40 years, she has resided in a 35-foot tank (many say illegally-sized), at Miami Seaquarium in Florida. Lolita has not seen another orca in more than 30 years. Her once companion orca, Hugo, died after repeatedly hitting his head against the tank walls. Yet in the wild, her mother still lives writes Candace Calloway Whiting at Seattle Pi:

And then, a little more good news:

‘Astonishing’ North Pacific right whale sighting is only the second in 62 years off British Columbia

North Pacific right whale spotted last week off British Columbia. Photo by John Ford
Right Whale

Last previous sighting was a mammal killed by whalers in 1951; it's the most endangered whale species on earth 

Full Story Pacific Right Whale sighting

Drawing of a North Pacific right whale is courtesy of Wikipedia, via NOAA

Why are they called RIGHT WHALES? 
Because of their docile nature, their slow surface-skimming feeding behaviors, their tendencies to stay close to the coast, and their high blubber content (which makes them float when they are killed, and which produced high yields of whale oil), right whales were a preferred target for whalers. Today, the North Atlantic and North Pacific right whales are among the most endangered whales in the world. Wikipedia.