The killer whale named Tokitae, whose rescue was championed by Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, has passed away.
The 57-year-old orca, affectionately known as “Lolita,” died on Friday afternoon while in captivity at the Miami Seaquarium.
The cause of death is suspected to be a potential renal condition, as reported by WTHR.
Tokitae had spent over five decades in a small enclosure at the Miami Seaquarium, making her the oldest orca held in captivity.
News had spread of a bold plan orchestrated by Colts’ owner Jim Irsay to spend a staggering $20 million to transport Tokitae from her decades-long captivity in Miami to the Pacific Ocean.
The aspiration was to reunite her with her pod in an area near the Puget Sound in Washington.
The rescue initiative, led by Irsay, aimed to provide Tokitae with an opportunity to experience a more natural habitat after her prolonged stay in captivity.
Jim Irsay reached to the tragic news of Tokitae’s death.
I am heartbroken that Toki has left us. Her story captured my heart, just as it did millions of others. I was honored to be part of the team working to return her to her indigenous home, and I take solace in knowing that we significantly improved her living conditions this past…
— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) August 18, 2023
The Miami Seaquarium expressed their condolences and shared that Tokitae’s death serves as a reminder of the challenges faced by marine animals in captivity.