Lori begins with big news from Florida where the captive Orca named Lolita (also known as Tokitae) has finally been permitted to “retire.” Lori recounts the life of this poor, lonely creature, ripped from her mother at age four for a life in captivity at the Miami Seaquarium. Lolita has been performing for 52 years! Lolita is reported to be ill, perhaps suffering from pneumonia. One former employee who knows her well thinks she will not live another 6 months. These changes came about due to USDA mandates associated with the sale of the park, which had been cited for numerous serious violations. This is a long overdue acknowledgement by the agency that conditions for Lolita were even an issue, but her status is still quite uncertain due to her health concerns and that she will continue to be confined to her same small tank (the smallest orca tank in North America). Even if there was an available spot in an ocean sea pen sanctuary for her to move to, could she survive the extremely stressful transport?
Then, Peter brings us animal news from the war in Ukraine. The Kyiv Zoo is barely getting by, and the animals are extremely stressed. Some of the larger animals have no indoor space to retreat to. The zoo gives updates on their website and instructions on how to wire in donations. While there are reports of evacuating citizens abandoning their animals, there are many reports of animal welfare groups large and small doing everything they can to support the remaining shelters. PETA posted useful information on which groups are active and how to help them. And, almost uniformly, countries accepting refugees have relaxed typical restrictions and document requirements to enter, like proof of vaccinations and periods of quarantine.
Then, Andrew Binovi, Senior Manager for Federal Legislation for the ASPCA joins Peter to talk about the continued high prevalence of animal fighting. National Dogfighting Awareness Day is April 8th.
Bugs, the Energizer Bunny, Peter Cottontail, or someone else: who is the most famous rabbit? Take the Leporidae quiz with Peter!