NMFS Makes Captive Killer Whales Subject to ESA Listings

On January 25, 2013, the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service received a petition submitted by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Foundation to remove the exclusion of captive animals from the endangered species listing of Southern Resident killer whale DPS, as well as, recognize the captive killer whale (Orcinus orca) ‘‘Lolita’’ as a protected member of the endangered Southern Resident killer whale Distinct Population Segment (DPS).

NMFS has completed a status review and published a proposed rule. NMFS has now amended the regulatory language of the Endangered Species Act listing of the DPS by removing the exclusion for captive members of the population.

NMFS has further determined that Lolita, a female killer whale captured from the Southern Resident killer whale population in 1970 who resides at the Miami Seaquarium in Miami, Florida, is not excluded from the Southern Resident killer whale DPS due to her captive status.

This final rule becomes effective on May 11, 2015.

Click here to read NMFS Federal Register notice of this final action.

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