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Battle on to win equal opportunities for whales

Guy Adams in Los Angeles

You've heard of 'Free Willy'; now it could be time for 'Liberate Lolita'. Forty years after the nation's most famous killer whale was lassoed off the coast of America's Pacific north-west and sold to a Florida theme park, her fans are off to court in an effort to secure her release.

A lawsuit lodged by animal rights activists accuses the US government of illegally discriminating against captive orcas such as Lolita, a resident of the Miami Seaquarium, by failing to give them the same rights as their wild counterparts.

Lolita is kept in a relatively confined tank, and despite being a member of a highly social species, is not allowed to fraternise with other whales.

Legal experts believe the outcome of any trial has implications that could affect zoos and aquariums across the US. (©Independent News Service)

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