Lolita, the orca, makes news again

Lolita, the Puget Sound orca who lives in a tank in Miami, has become a hot topic for local reporters and now a national news organization. See today’s Newsweek online and Sunday’s telecast on King 5 TV.

Much of the recent attention has been generated by actor Raul Julia-Levy and his list of celebrity friends apparently willing to lend their name to the Free Lolita campaign. I was among the first to report about Julia-Levy’s efforts in the Jan. 12 Kitsap Sun.

Howard Garrett of Orca Network is featured prominently in the Newsweek article:

For more than a decade, Howard Garrett has worked tirelessly out of his home on Whidbey Island, Wash., to return an orca whale named Lolita to her native waters. In 1995 — inspired by the campaign to release Keiko, the “Free Willy” whale — he teamed with local politicians, offering the Florida aquarium where Lolita works a million dollars to reunite her with the pod of whales she grew up with, off the coast of Washington state…

“There have been times I’ve wanted to give up,” Garrett says. “Everyone keeps telling us it’s hopeless, and even when there’s a surge of enthusiasm, eventually it dwindles.”

In late November, however, Garrett got a call that, in spite of his usual doubts, stirred the fight inside him. Raul Julia-Levy, the Hollywood producer and son of actor Raul Julia, wanted to sign on to help free Lolita …

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