Wellington woman to live in tub for orca

Wellington woman to live in tub for orca

A Wellington mother is on her way to Miami to spend a month living in a bathtub.

Danielle Daals is protesting against the captivity of an orca called Lolita, who's been living at Miami Seaquarium for 45 years.

Lolita was captured at four years old in 1970, separated from her family and sent to the Seaquairum in Miami, where she has lived ever since.

Her story upset animal activist Ms Daals so much she's about to start a world-first protest.

"We are really in a race against time to help her," she says.

She reckons living in a pool for Lolita would be like living in a bathtub for a human, so in solidarity she's going to do just that - lie in a bathtub outside the sea park every day for a month.

"I am going to simulate her life as much as possible," says Ms Daals. "I'll have no contact with my family for the entire time I'm away. I will have to do tricks for food; I'll have no entertainment while in the tub."

Lolita is six metres long, which is exactly the same as the depth of her tank at its deepest point. Her tank is 24 metres long and 10 metres wide.

It also violates the size requirements of the United States Department of Agriculture.

"I'm really concerned about the conditions she's being kept in," says orca whale biologist Ingrid Visser. "The PR of the aquariums say it's for educational purposes, but I just can't see how it's educational."

Ms Daals decided to take action after watching the documentary Blackfish, which saw Seaworld's profits drop by 84 percent after its release in 2013.

She's hoping her protest will have a similar impact on smaller parks, like the one Lolita is kept in.

"The hope is to retire her and put her into a sea pen where people will train her to fend for herself again, and then the hope is that she will be released back to her family," says Ms Daals.

Miami Seaquarium refused to speak to Newshub but has previously said if Lolita is released back into the wild she won't survive. But scientists and animal activists say she's living on death row anyway.