animatronic dolphin Anger Over Orca’s Death Prompts PETA to Challenge SeaWorld: Robotics and Retirement!

Anger Over Orca’s Death Prompts PETA to Challenge SeaWorld: Robotics and Retirement!

For Immediate Release:
August 28, 2023

David Perle 202-483-7382

Orlando, Fla. – Following worldwide outrage over the death of Lolita the orca and the growing criticism over her confinement in her final years, PETA shot off a letter this morning to SeaWorld CEO Marc Swanson urging him to retire Corky and the other dolphins and whales swimming endless circles in SeaWorld’s concrete tanks to seaside sanctuaries before they suffer the same fate as Lolita and to revamp the abusement park’s reputation by using cutting-edge animatronic dolphins instead of live animals. Lolita spent more than five decades imprisoned in a tiny tank at the Miami Seaquarium but died ahead of her planned release into a sanctuary in her home waters.

An animatronic dolphin swims up to visitors in Los Angeles. Credit: PETA.

“The promise made to Lolita was never fulfilled, but it’s not too late to save Corky and the other dolphins and whales, who are still being deprived of any semblance of a natural life,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is calling on SeaWorld to urgently make the switch to hyper-realistic robotic dolphins that look, feel, and act just like real animals without exploiting them.”

More than 40 orcas and over 500 other dolphins and whales have died in SeaWorld’s barren tanks, many of them prematurely, and those who remain can do little but swim in circles and lash out at each other in frustration.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Swanson follows.

August 28, 2023

Marc Swanson, CEO

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment

Dear Mr. Swanson:

I’m writing on behalf of PETA and our millions of members and supporters worldwide following the global outrage over Lolita the orca’s death at the Miami Seaquarium and the ensuing calls to end all cetacean captivity. Now all eyes are on SeaWorld to do the right thing before another animal dies in a tiny tank. We urge you to learn from this tragedy and retire Corky and the other dolphins and whales to seaside sanctuaries before they endure the same fate as Lolita. It’s time for robotics and retirement!

As you know, Corky—like Lolita—was torn away from her family and ocean home and has only known misery for more than 50 years. She has had no life other than to swim in endless circles in a concrete tank. While the Miami Seaquarium announced plans to retire Lolita and her Pacific white-sided dolphin tankmate, Li’i to a seaside sanctuary, they came too late—and Lolita was denied even a moment of freedom. Now people are outraged and looking to SeaWorld to see whether you will do better for Corky.

Rather than being a notorious abusement park, SeaWorld could be an innovator in animal-free entertainment by replacing its live-animal exhibits with cutting-edge animatronic dolphins, which would allow people to feel as though they’re interacting with real animals without exploiting them. This move would not only modernize the parks but also win back visitors who now shun them.

Will you please create a firm and rapid plan to move the dolphins and whales to seaside sanctuaries before it’s too late? We’d be happy to work with you to replace the animals with animatronic animals that look, feel, and act just like real ones—and we’d wholeheartedly support a SeaWorld without animals.

Very truly yours,

Tracy Reiman

Executive Vice President

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