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MIAMI (AP) — The mayor of Miami Beach and other South Florida leaders are joining the opposition to an orca’s decades-long captivity at the Miami Seaquarium.

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The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and other groups have sued in Miami federal court, saying the orca named Lolita should ultimately be removed to a sea pen under a retirement plan that would more closely mimic her natural Pacific Ocean environment.

Lolita was captured in 1970 off the Washington state coast.

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Seaquarium officials say Lolita is healthy and removing her would be cruel and traumatic. Their critics plan to protest Sunday outside the Miami attraction.

In a statement, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine called for Lolita’s release, along with developer Jorge Perez, the Miami Heat’s official DJ, chef Ingrid Hoffman and other local business leaders and celebrities.

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