ABOUT FRIENDS OF TOKI
Friends of Toki, Inc. is a Florida non-profit organization co-founded by philanthropist and environmentalist Pritam Singh and leading scientists and marine mammal experts to collaborate with The Miami Seaquarium, The Dolphin Company and Mayor of Miami-Dade County, Daniella Levine Cava, in providing the best care and quality of life for Tokitae, also known as Lolita, the Orca living in captivity for more than 50 years.
Friends of Toki Board of Directors.
Pritam Singh is an American businessman, environmentalist, and philanthropist. Pritam is the Founder of the Singh Group of companies, having overseen the design, development, building, and management of properties, with a current value of over $5 billion. The Singh Group of companies, based in the Florida Keys, has gained a national reputation and won numerous awards for innovative design, the adaptive reuse of obsolete properties, historic renovation, and environmental remediation.
Some of the Singh Group of companies’ most notable projects include the Truman Annex and Marker Hotel in Key West, Florida and the Tranquility Bay and Isla Bella Resorts in Marathon, Florida. A lifelong engaged student of religion and philosophy, environmental and social activist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist in numerous movement and organizations for over five decades, Pritam has worked, supported, and affected change to conserve our oceans, protect animals, and educate and care for children. Pritam is Chairman of the Board and past President of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS). Since 2015, under his leadership, the organization has grown and significantly broadened its conservation reach by partnering with countries worldwide to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. This organizational growth has allowed Sea Shepherd to gain international recognition as a guardian of the ocean, uniquely serving as the largest nongovernmental marine conservation fleet in the world.
He spends much of his time building collaborative partnerships with Sea Shepherd’s staff, consultants, advisors, and other stakeholders. He is a longtime student of and collaborator with the renowned Buddhist monk and teacher Thich Nhat Hanh. He has edited six books with Thich Nhat Hanh, notably No Death No Fear and Taming the Tiger Within. For 25 years, he has represented the Plum Village Practice Community worldwide. In February of 2004, at the Lin Chi Zen Great Ordination Ceremony organized in Deer Park Monastery, he was ordained as a Dharma teacher and minister in the 42nd generation of the Lâm Tê Dhyana School and the 8th generation of the Liêu Quán Dharma Line. Pritam received his Sikh name in September 1976 during an Amrit Ceremony, held at the Akal Takht, Golden Temple in Amritsar, India.
Charles Vinick, MA, Executive Director of the Whale Sanctuary Project, has been leading non-profit organizations for over 40 years, including serving as Vice President of the Cousteau Society and Ocean Futures Society for 25 years. He served as project manager for the Keiko Project, President and CEO of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound as well as CEO of two environmental technology development companies, Ecosphere Technologies and Aquantis, Inc. He has received commendations from the White House for his work with youth education and from the Los Angeles City Council for community environmentalism.
Diana Reiss, PhD, is an internationally known marine mammal scientist and cognitive psychologist. She is a Professor and the Director of the Animal Behavior and Conservation graduate programs at Hunter College, CUNY. Her research focuses on dolphin cognition and communication and she applies her research to advocating for global protection for cetaceans. She served as a member and advisor of the Animal Welfare Committee of the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums and as science advisor for the California Marine Mammal Rescue Center. Her efforts have also included the rescue and rehabilitation of stranded marine mammals.
Roger Payne, PhD, is an internationally known biologist, marine mammal scientist and environmentalist, famous for the 1967 discovery of whale song among humpback whales. Dr. Payne was also the first to suggest that blue whales and fin whales might communicate with sound across oceans, a theory that has since been confirmed. He became an important figure in the worldwide campaign to end commercial whaling.
Raynell Morris (Squil-le-he-le) is a mother, grandmother, enrolled Lummi tribal member, and Vice-President of the Sacred Lands Conservancy (Sacred Sea). As Associate Director of Intergovernmental Affairs under President Clinton, Raynell was the first Native American staffer appointed to the White House, and has served as Chief of Staff for the Chairman of Lummi Nation. As the Director of Lummi Nation’s Sovereignty and Treaty Protection Office, she was a key strategist in the successful campaign to block a proposal to build North America’s largest coal port t on Lhaq’temish (Lummi) sacred ground. Her work for Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut (Tokitae / Lolita) has been guided by spirit, informed by science, and conducted with heartfelt strategy and compassion.