The Tokitae?

This is Tokitae. From

Animal lovers and other people of compassion, we have a very narrow window of time to contact the Washington State Transportation Commission in support of the proposal to name a new ferry Tokitae.

Tokitae is a beloved orca captured as a baby near Whidbey Island in 1970 who’s been stuck in a substandard-size tank in the Miami Seaquarium ever since. She is the last survivor of a group of 45 wild orcas who were brutally rounded up and sold into captivity– that decimated the local orca population and the Orca Network points out it’s never recovered.

The Transportation Commission, P.O. Box 47308, Olympia, WA 98504-7308

Fax: 360/705-6802

KOMO News reported that seven names are under consideration, with the name Ivar Haglund of Ivar’s seafood restaurants fame in the spotlight:

Tokitae, however, would by far be the best choice. Borrowing from a previous post on Tokitae (known at the Miami Seaquarium as Lolita),

Allow me to introduce you to Lolita:

-She is a native Northwesterner

-She’s about 40 years old

-She has blue eyes

-She has been performing for audiences longer than I’ve been alive

-She is the last surviving member of a group of 45 that was captured and sold into slavery

-She lives in what must seem like a jail cell compared to her native stomping grounds

-She enjoys family and friends but lives a largely isolated life

-She’s a survivor; only one of her kind has been in captivity longer

-She still retains parts of her native language

-Her mother is 82 (now 84) years old and still waiting for her daughter to come home

This is a no brainer. Naming a constantly-used ferry Tokitae would do wonders to raise awareness for her situation and the proposed plan to bring her home to a sea pen in the San Juans. I was skeptical at first but from what I’ve read it could actually work.

You can learn much more about Tokitae and what life is like for captured marine mammals at

How long does it take to send an email? Please contact the Transportation Commission today and ask them not to let this tremendous opportunity to shine the spotlight on Tokitae, a native Northwesterner.

Just now I found this page on the Orca Network’s site and it looks like they’re way ahead of me:

Please, take two minutes to let state officials know that Tokitae is the best choice because of what it could do to help her and God’s other creatures who sometimes suffer so terribly because of our ignorance and oblivion. Ivar, bless his soul, passed on long ago. Tokitae is still alive and we still have a chance to better her situation.

After all, it’s her family members who will be swimming alongside this latest addition to Washington’s fleet.


The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. –Gandhi


©2012 H. Hiatt/ All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/

2 thoughts on “The Tokitae?

  1. Thanks for your post about Lolita’st story! We need to keep getting the word out about this beautiful girl and I believe that one day her freedom may become a reality, even after all these years alone in that tiny concrete tank! Thank you again for your efforts for her & keep up the good work on her behalf, please! 🙂


    1. Thanks! I am thrilled to have learned that the Washington State Transporation Commission chose the name Tokitae for one of our two new ferries. What a fantastic way to raise awareness about Tokitae and the plan to bring her home to a sea pen. Just posted my thoughts about this on the home page.

      With enough support, and enough experts in orca care involved, we can make this happen.


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