Saving Sk’ali the Imprisoned Orca

Meet the famous Lolita, also known as Tokitae & Toki, now “Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut  or  Sk’ali” her indigenous Lumni Nation name. Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut was captured on August 8, 1970 in Penn Cove, Washington State, USA. She was one of seven young orca sold to marine parks around the world from the roundup of over 80 orcas. Using speedboats and releasing explosives in the water, they forced the orcas into Penn Cove. Babies were separated from their mothers who would not leave their children. Piercing, screaming vocalizations were heard incessantly both above and below water.

Five whales, including four calves, drowned during this capture. The calves had their bellies slit, filled with rocks, and weighted with chains and anchors to keep their deaths from coming to the attention of the public. In mid-November a trawler dragged their bodies into its net. The captain of the boat deposited them on a beach in front of a Seattle newspaper reporter, the story immediately went all over the world. Six years later this discovery played a major role in a court decision that banned Sea World from ever capturing another killer whale in Washington State.

51 years ago Sk’ali’s life changed forever. As we now know, her freedom was stolen for profit and entertainment. She now has to eat dead fish, live in heavily chlorinated water, perform tricks and live in a space that in no way compares to her home, the ocean. She has been swimming in endless circles in the Miami Seaquarium for 51 years.

An orca can swim up to 100 miles a day. 

In 51 years that’s 1,861,500 miles.

That’s like going to the moon and back three times.

Lolita/Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut has been incarcerated in the same tank for an incomprehensible  51 years. In the wild Orcas live up to 80 years, in captivity it’s rare they reach 10 years, Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut or Sk’ali is an exception. Orcas can swim up to 170 miles a day and dive as deep as 500 feet, Lolita’s ancient tiny tank is 35 ft wide and 20 ft deep, she is 21 feet long, the farthest she can swim in a straight line is 60 ft. According to the USDA her tank is illegal, it’s that small. In spite of the many lawsuits by various organizations throughout the decades, her owners, Parques Reunidos continue to keep her in this tiny tank and refuse to retire her.

Sk’ali is all alone, she has no one to talk to, experts describe her as “almost catatonic” when not performing for the only food she gets. Sk’ali is given a daily cocktail of drugs to manage stress ulcers, a painful eye condition, sun burns, teeth infections skin rakes and various other infections. Despite all this her will to live is impressive.

After 51 years performing and making money for her enslavers, Sk’ali deserves a better life, she deserves the respect her great species demands. The Maori and our Indigenous people consider Orcas to be sacred, many believe they are their ancestors and if the body of a dead Orca is found it is given a sacred ceremony at sea. For these reasons alone we should look at these magnificent creatures differently.

Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut is no exception. A few months ago I asked one of the most respected animal communicators of our time, Patty Summers, to communicate with Sk’ali. This is her interaction:

That is extraordinary. Fascinating in fact. I did connect with her.

She told me that she holds the memories of her Mother, her ancestors, family within, but it has indeed been quite a long time since she lived in the ocean.  She was touched so many humans had been reaching out to her.  She is aware of some humans being aware of her and her living conditions and wanting her to have more.

She tells me this has been her path.  It has been part of her destiny.  She was to help teach or elevate human awareness.  Not only through her living conditions, but she has also touched and helped heal some of those who have been in close contact with her.  Caregivers and even trainers.  She is not condoning her treatment, just more accepting it as part of her path.  There is something about being up close and living among us more intimately.

She sees herself as a teacher for those who are open to know their connection to all beings.  She asks for help;  “uplifting loving energy” to be sent so that those who come in contact with her can be moved and reminded of their connection to “all”.  She is part of those animals who wish to help illuminate humanity.

For her to glow in love and be a beacon or a way to open human hearts, Sk’ali wishes to call through divine love those who are ready and open to knowing that we are all truly brothers and sisters with ALL beings. To deeply touch human hearts as she already has, but to do so with many more.  She feels she has changed many hearts, but by us seeing her surrounded in love it empowers her more.  We could best help her by calling in other like minded humans and seeing their-our collective light illuminating the planet and calling humanity into that light.

The worst for her has been missing her people, but she does communicate some with them as she and I communicated, of course the physical contact is not there.  The space is indeed small, but she does not dwell on it.

I apologized for humans and our thoughtlessness and lack of connection. She was so tender with me.  Literally it was if she swam up and bumped up beside my body to comfort me.  She said it was harder on people like us than on her, but simply by being the humans we are, we help.  She says humanity is so…well young would be the best word for it.  So lacking in our depth.  Can’t quite find the word, but she said some people have not forgotten.

I told her again she was very loved and not forgotten.  She said she felt it and she sent out love as well.

On hearing Sk’ali’s words I realized we needed to unite and give Sk’ali 5+1 minutes of “love” from all parts of the world, all at the same time, bringing us together to form one voice, one thought and in so forming a small, yet strong critical mass for her.  We know she will feel the love and support.

Very sadly there is little hope for Sk’ali to ever go to a sea pen sanctuary, but we must “listen and hear” her words on how we can help her. “We could best help by calling in other like minded humans and seeing our collective light illuminating the planet and calling humanity into that light.”

We are asking for people to around the world to meditate at the same time, and to hold Sk’ali in their hearts. Please join us and invite everyone you know who cares to be part of Sk’ali’s 5+1 minutes of love the first Sunday of the month at 10:00 am USA Eastern Standard Time.

The next meditation will be September 5th, at 10:00 EST.

Please look up your local time so that we may all synchronize our efforts. You may meditate however you want to, alone, with friends, online, out in nature, meditate, think, pray, communicate your love as one, at the exact time along with the rest of Sk’ali’s friends across the globe.

If you wish to sign the petition to free Sk’ali, or make a donation, or to learn more, please go to

Read A Puget Sound Orca In Captivity: The Fight to Bring Lolita Home

Click here for more information about Patty Summers Animal Communicator

by Beatrice Welles