For years, animal activists have campaigned to free a killer whale that was captured from Puget Sound waters in 1970 and has been performing at Miami Seaquarium in Florida for over four decades.

They say the orca known as Lolita belongs to a small population of endangered killer whales and should receive the same federal protection as those wild killer whales.

A decision from the federal government is expected as early as next week.

The curator of the Miami Seaquarium, Robert Rose, says that regardless of what happens Lolita isn't going anywhere. He says she is healthy, vibrant and has been well-cared for.

Activists say she belongs in the wild and returning her to her home waters will give her a chance to bond with others orcas that spend time in Washington state waters.