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male orca or killer whale, Orcinus orca, Kaldfjord, Tromso, Norway

Source: Alessandro De Maddalena / Getty

MIAMI — Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay is financially, and emotionally, supporting an effort to free an orca whale.

Lolita has spent most of her life in captivity at the Seaquarium in Miami.  She was captured and sent to the attraction in 1970, when she was just a baby.

The non-profit Friends of Toki (Lolita) is just one group that has been pushing to see the whale freed.  Now, the organization has partnered with the Dolphin Company, which owns the Seaquarium.  They are hoping to relocate her in the next two years.

Jim Irsay will be paying for her transfer, which could cost up to $20 million.

15th Annual HOPE Luncheon Seminar Honoring Michael Phelps

Source: Jared Siskin / Getty

He said, “The story of Lolita the orca has been near and dear to my heart.  I am proud, and enthusiastic, to play a role in finally returning Lolita to her native Pacific Northwest.”

If efforts to return the whale to the wild are successful, many advocates will be relieved.  She will likely be taken to a sanctuary first before being freed into the wild.

And, there is a possibility that her mother is still alive.  Supporters are hoping that she might be able to see her mother, and her native Puget Sound, once more.

Puget Sound Waterfront Sunset

Source: Randall Williams / Getty

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