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Hopes raised for whale and dolphin protection after last minute landmark nature agreement

WDC's Ed Goodall (far right) at COP15 with Thérèse Coffey (centre) UK Secretary of State...

WDC orca champion picks up award

Beatrice Whishart MSP picks up her Nature Champion award The Scottish Environment LINK, an organisation...

Large number of dolphins moved to Abu Dhabi marine park

Up to 24 captive bottlenose dolphins have reportedly been sent to a new SeaWorld theme...

Success! Removal of last river dams to help threatened orcas in the US

Great news has emerged from the US concerning our work to protect the endangered orca...
All policy news
  • All policy news
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Stop whaling
  • Strandings
Port River dolphins

New report reveals 100,000 dolphins and small whales hunted every year

When you hear the words ‘dolphin hunts’ it’s likely that you think of Japan or...

Minke whale hunts stop in Iceland

Iceland’s commercial hunt of minke whales has ended for this year. The common minke whale is the...

Australian Government to block Japanese whaling proposal

Japanese Government officials have reportedly confirmed that they will propose the resumption of commercial whaling...

Pregnant whales once again a target for Japanese whalers

Figures from Japan's whaling expedition to Antarctica during the 2017/18 austral summer have revealed that...

Did Icelandic whalers really kill a blue whale?

*Warning - this blog contains an image that you may find upsetting* They say a...

Icelandic whalers breach international law and kill iconic, protected whale by mistake

Icelandic whalers out hunting fin whales for the first time in three years appear to...

Doubts remain after Icelandic Marine Institute claims slaughtered whale was a hybrid not a blue

Experts remain sceptical of initial test results issued by the Icelandic Marine Institute, which indicate...

Japan set to resume commercial whaling

Reports from Japan suggest that the government they will formally propose plans to resume commercial...

End the whale hunts! Icelandic fin whaler isolated as public mood shifts

Here’s a sight I hoped never again to witness. A boat being scrubbed and repainted...

Norway increases whaling quota despite declining demand

Norway's government has announced an increase in the number of minke whales that can be...

Icelandic fin whale hunting to resume

Iceland’s only fin whaling company, Hvalur hf,  announced today that it will resume fin whaling...

SOS alert for whales off Norway!

I have to admit to bitter disappointment when I arrived in Tromsø, northern Norway, a...

Lolita Case Returns to Court

The next step in the legal process to return Lolita (also called Tokitae) to her home waters in Washington State happened on December 6th in Florida.  An appeal on the Endangered Species Act (ESA)-based lawsuit against the Miami Seaquarium, which was dismissed in June 2016, seeks to overturn the district court’s ruling on ESA violations.

The appealing parties argue that holding Lolita without the company of other orcas, in a small tank that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (the federal agency responsible for ensuring marine parks meet Animal Welfare Act standards)  recently acknowledged may not meet minimum size requirements for captive-held orcas, and with no protection from the sun, constitutes a violation of the ESA.  The act prohibits the harm and harassment of protected species, but it’s unclear how this applies to individuals held in captivity. 

Lolita is a member of the Southern Resident orca population, which has been listed as endangered since 2005 and now has just 76 individuals remaining in the wild.  Initially left out of their ESA designation because of her confinement in captivity, Lolita was officially added to the listing in 2015, which opened new legal avenues to seek protection for her from the harm of captivity.

Lolita was captured in 1970 during the infamous Penn Cove captures, in which more than 80 Southern Resident orcas were trapped in nets and seven were sold to marine parks.  Of the estimated 47 Southern Resident orcas who were taken captive or died during the horrific era of live captures in the 1960s and 70s, Lolita is the only one still alive.  Following her addition to the ESA listing of her family, several groups filed a lawsuit claiming that the Miami Seaquarium was violating ESA protections against harm and harassment.  The lawsuit was dismissed in June 2016, but appealed in July 2016, and appeal arguments were heard on December 6th, 2017.