The Washington Transportation Commission in the US this week announced the names of two new State Ferries currently under construction. One of them will be given the name Tokitae.- a tribal greeting term – and the name shared by the world’s oldest captive orca that was captured from these waters in 1970.
The captured orca, a young female, was moved to Miami and given this name by the marine park’s veterinarian. This was later changed to Lolita but campaigners continue to refer to her as Tokitae as they work tirelessly to secure her release. Tokitae is the last survivor of the 45 Southern Resident Orcas captured in Washington state during the capture era of the 1960s and 70s before a ban was imposed in 1976. Today Tokitae/Lolita is still in the same pool, alone and performing the same tricks she has done day in day out, month after month for 42 years!!
Rob Lott, WDC’s Anti-Captivity manager says: “It’s heartening to know that the new ferry Tokitae will be plowing the waters of Washington State for years to come and will hopefully serve as a reminder to passengers of the plight of her namesake a continent away. Our hope is that one day soon orca Tokitae will have the opportunity to swim in these same waters and be reunited with the mother she hasn’t seen in over 40 years.”