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Bubbles The Pilot Whale Returning to Palos Verdes

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Bubbles, a mid-50’s female pilot whale, is returning to Rancho Palos Verdes-in a statue form. Bubbles was captured off the coast of Rancho Palos Verdes in 1960’s and has performed in Palos Verdes’s Marineland for 20 years, even owning her own stadium. After Marineland was abruptly closed in 1987, (now replaced by the Terranea Resort) Bubbles was relocated to Seaworld in San Diego, where she continued to perform for nearly 30 years, before passing away on Thursday, June 9th, 2016.

The statue of Bubbles was pitched into a maintenance yard after she was transported to San Diego. For years, the statue sat there gathering dust. Finally, in 2014, Robert Craig discovered it while on a stroll with his daughter and pet dog. He tried to convince the City Council to display the statue in Palos Verdes somewhere, but with no avail. Soon, community support created an online petition, which accumulated over 1,200 signatures to attempt to place down the statue. His efforts were rewarded, when the council finally decided to position the statue in Lower Point Vicente Park, which Craig was delighted about. “I’m glad the city, through the support of all the people and the donors and everybody that has some good memories of Marineland and Bubbles … took it as a Peninsula icon,” he said. But before installing the statue, it needs to be restored first. A restoration company estimated that $20,000 would be required to fully restore the statue.

Even with difficult obstacles standing in their way, nothing would stop the Palos Verdes residents to bring back a small piece of their early history of Marineland. San Diego park officials predicted that around 100 million people have watched Bubbles perform over the decades. “I’ve never known an animal with a more impressive air spin, where she jumps out of the water and spins around at lightning speed,” Bill Winhall, assistant curator at SeaWorld San Diego, stated.

 

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