Lowry, Munro to headline Lolita Symposium '96

OLYMPIA - Gov. Mike Lowry and Secretary of State Ralph Munro will be at Seattle's waterfront on Friday, Aug. 9 to commemorate the 26th anniversary of the capture of seven orca whales in Puget Sound. Lolita Symposium '96 will begin at 9 a.m. with an introduction by Lowry and will culminate at 5 p.m. in a wreath-laying ceremony led by Munro.

Lolita is the name of the sole surviving Puget Sound orca rounded up by the animal entertainment industry on Aug. 8, 1970. On that day, more than 80 orcas were herded into Penn Cove off Whidbey Island for capture, a process that killed five of the whales. Lolita remains on display at the Miami Seaquarium, where her owners refuse to put her up for sale.

"Since I began working on the effort to bring Lolita home, I have learned this is a very popular cause," said Lowry, who with Munro last year launched a public campaign to return Lolita from Miami to Puget Sound. "Many people, from here to Florida, scientists to schoolchildren, feel strongly that animals as intelligent and majestic as orca whales should not be used for human entertainment. I am optimistic that the Lolita Symposium will help to produce a practical plan for us to bring her back and learn how such creatures can readapt to their native environment."

The primary goal for Lolita's retirement from performing is to provide humane alternatives to captivity, including potential reintroduction to her native waters and her family pod. Because female orcas in the wild typically live more than 50 years, versus fewer than 10 years in captivity, Lolita's life expectancy may be vastly improved.

Lowry will kick-off a day-long series of meetings that will bring marine biologists, civic leaders, artists and business leaders together to discuss possible ways to bring Lolita home. The day's events include:

Symposium kick-off and workshops, 9 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Bell Harbor, Pier 66, Seattle

Wreath-laying ceremony, 5 - 6 p.m.
Bay Pavilion, Pier 57, Seattle


For more information, contact Donna Sandstrom at the Orca Alliance at 206-933-0206 or Ralph Munro at 360-753-7124.