The Miami Seaquarium said in a Facebook post that Tokitae began “showing signs of severe discomfort” over the past two days and died Friday afternoon.
MIAMI — Orca Tokitae, called by the Lummi nation Sk’aliCh’elh’tenautdied Friday, according to the Miami Seaquarium.
The Miami Seaquarium said in a Facebook post that Tokitae began “showing signs of severe discomfort” over the past two days. Tokitae was treated by the medical team but passed away on Friday afternoon from what is believed to be kidney disease.
Tokitae has lived in a concrete tank at the Miami Aquarium for the past 53 years. The Lummi Nation, activists and animal rights advocates have been fighting for years to get her back in the Salish Sea.
KING 5 has followed Tokitae’s journey from her violent arrest in the Salish Sea, to her decades at the Miami Seaquarium – and her quest to bring her back.
RELATED: Tokitae’s Journey
Tokitae is the last surviving killer whale among whales captured from Puget Sound and sold into captivity. She was roughly taken from her hold in August 1970 near Whidbey Island’s Penn Cove.
Tokitae was sold to the Miami Seaquarium for about $20,000. She is said to be only 4 years old.
Tokitae arrived in Miami in late September 1970. She was said to be “depressed” upon arrival, refusing to eat. For the next more than 50 years, Tokitae performed to crowds of hundreds under the name Lolita.
Although protests have been going on for several years, it was not until 2018 that the momentum behind the fight to liberate Toki was boosted by the Lummi Nation.
You can read seaquarium’s full statement below:
Over the past two days, Toki began to show signs of severe discomfort, prompting her entire medical team at the Miami Seaquarium and Friends of Toki to begin immediate and aggressive treatment. Despite receiving the best medical care she could, she passed away on Friday afternoon from what is believed to be kidney disease. Toki is an inspiration to all who are fortunate enough to hear her story and especially to the Lummi nation that has made her family. Those of us who had the honor and privilege of spending time with her will forever remember her beautiful soul.
This is an evolving story. Check back for updates.
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