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JGI Statement on the passing of Tokitae in Miami Seaquarium

The Jane Goodall Institute is deeply saddened by the death of 57- year- old Orca, Tokitae. We are calling for an immediate worldwide ban on the capturing, keeping, and breeding of cetaceans in captivity.

The Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) is committed to creating a world without the capture, breeding, and exploitation of cetaceans in captivity and creating the best outcomes for those already confined. Our globally led JGI Cetacean and JGI Ethics Committees have released a joint statement on learning the news.

The Jane Goodall Institute’s Cetacean Committee (JGICC) and Ethics Committee are deeply saddened by the death of 57- year- old Orca, Tokitae, and is calling for an immediate worldwide ban on capture, keeping and breeding of cetaceans in captivity.

Tokitae spent more than half a century in a concrete tank at the Miami Seaquarium after being ripped from her family in the waters of the Pacific north-west 53 years ago. Following her capture, she was transported to the Seaquarium where she lived her remaining years in one pool, performing tricks for food until she was removed from performing eighteen months ago as a requirement of the new owner’s exhibition licence.

Efforts were well underway to finally return Tokitae to the Salish Sea but her passing means she will never have the opportunity to experience her home waters again. We believe that Tokitae’s sad story should serve as a poignant prompt to immediately end cetacean captivity.

Melody Horrill from JGICC said: “We are devastated that Tokitae will never receive what she was entitled to from the start – her freedom. Her death is a tragic reminder that no dolphins, whales, or porpoises should ever be kept in captivity for the purpose of entertainment. These highly intelligent, sensitive mammals deserve a natural life in the wild, free of exploitation”.

For more information about the Jane Goodall Institute’s position on Cetacean Captivity see: JGI Statement on Cetacean Captivity.

You can download this statement in PDF format, here.

The JGI Cetacean Committee, formed in 2022, is made up of dolphin and whale experts and advocates from around the world. This statement is signed by the following members of the Jane Goodall Institute’s Cetacean Committee and the Jane Goodall Institute’s Ethics Committee:

Dr. Rebeca Atencia, Dr. Marc Bekoff, Dr. Kerry Bowman, Dr. Jane Goodall, Dr. Denise Herzing, Chris Heyde, Melody Horrill, Dr. Soojin Jang, Dr. Koen Margodt, Dr. Lori Marino, Mary Peng, Dr. Rick Quinn, Charles Vinick and Sarah Wertkin.

For correspondence, please email: melodyhorrillauthor@gmail.com or koen.margodt@janegoodall.global

Headline image credit: Shutterstock (with permission)

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