Captive Killer Whale Is Ruled to Be Member of Endangered Species
The ruling does not affect other captive orcas in the United States.
The federal government listed a captive orca at a Miami aquarium as an endangered species on Wednesday, though the new designation doesn't mean the killer whale will be released anytime soon.
Animal activists have fought for years to free the orca, known as Lolita, from the Miami Seaquarium.
In response to a petition filed in 2013 by a consortium of animal rights groups, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries ruled Wednesday that "captive animals such as Lolita cannot be assigned separate legal status from their wild counterparts." Lolita came from a specific population of orcas that has been listed as endangered since 2005.
The ruling does not affect other captive orcas in the U.S., says Michael Milstein, a