Judge dismisses suit to free orca from captivity

SEATTLE — A federal judge in Tacoma has dismissed a lawsuit aimed at freeing the killer whale Lolita from captivity at Miami Seaquarium.

Judge Benjamin H. Settle last week ruled that orca activists who sued the federal government didn’t give proper notice and failed to state a valid claim. He granted motions by the government and Seaquarium to dismiss the case.

Lolita has been performing at Seaquarium since she was captured from Puget Sound waters in 1970.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and three individuals sued the National Marine Fisheries Service in November, saying it should have protected Lolita when it listed other Puget Sound orcas as endangered in 2005.

The groups say they’ll continue to fight for Lolita’s release. Seaquarium has said Lolita is healthy and well-cared for.

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