Miami, United States, Sept 25 (EFE).- Li’i, a 90.7 kilogram (199.9 lb) dolphin who had been living at the Miami Seaquarium for 37 years, in the pond of the deceased orca Lolita, has been moved to a “better” habitat in Texas, where he will live “with other companions of his species,” notified the Florida aquarium on Monday.
“After 35 years under the care of Miami Seaquarium, Li’i, our last Pacific white-sided dolphin, who spent the last few years with our beloved Lolita, was successfully transferred to SeaWorld in San Antonio, Texas, to a habitat with other dolphins of his same species,” the Miami Seaquarium, which is owned by The Dolphin Company, communicated.
According to the Miami Herald, Li’i, considered an “elderly” dolphin at 40 years old, was transferred Sunday night to SeaWorld in San Antonio, Texas.
The transfer occurred in a container filled with cold water in a chartered Boeing 767 aircraft, where two veterinarians and a trainer accompanied the cetacean.
“Li’i’s trip was a success. He is an older dolphin who had never moved but was calm throughout the flight. We put him in the water early this morning, and he is alert and interactive. He can now see the other animals he will soon be living with,” said Dr. Christopher Dold, SeaWorld’s veterinary director.
Last August, the orca Lolita, who had been for more than 50 years at the Miami Seaquarium and whose captivity has been controversial among animal protection groups, died of “a kidney condition,” said the oceanarium in a statement.
According to data provided by animal rights activists, Lolita, who was sold in 1970 to the Miami Seaquarium for about 20,000 dollars, was confined in a pool of about 18 meters (59 feet) long and a maximum depth of 6.1 meters and at that time she was being prepared for release in the waters of the US Pacific, where she was captured.
“Following Lolita’s departure, our animal care experts suggested relocating him to a habitat with other companions of his species, and our efforts to seek his well-being brought him to SeaWorld in San Antonio,” the Miami aquarium said in its statement on the transfer of Li’i, the dolphin.
“While we will miss him greatly, we are happy to know that this is the best thing for him. Thank you to the entire team at Miami Seaquarium and The Dolphin Company for making this possible, and thank you to everyone who always expressed an interest in Li’i’s well-being, just as we did,” it adds.
The Miami Seaquarium’s website promotes interactive and educational activities with dolphins, a “unique opportunity for families” who can touch a dolphin for approximately 10 minutes. EFE