Friends of Toki Inc. is a Florida non-profit corporation co-founded by philanthropist and environmentalist Pritam Singh and Charles Vinick with Dr. Diana Reiss, Lummi elder, Raynell Morris, and the late Dr. Roger Payne. The Friends of Toki team includes renowned marine mammal veterinarians, Dr. Jim McBain, Dr. Tom Reidarson, and Dr. Stephanie Norman, along with an experienced enrichment team that includes experienced trainers. In an extraordinary collaboration with The Dolphin Company, and with the support from Jim Irsay, Friends of Toki is leading this wonderful effort to return Toki, the orca also known as Lolita, from the Miami Seaquarium back to an ocean habitat in her home waters in the Pacific Northwest. It is a sacred privilege for Friends of Toki to share in this mission.

Board of Directors

Pritam Singh

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.

Charles Vinick

Raynell Morris

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.

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.

Diana Reiss

In Memoriam

Roger Payne

“I believe that awe-inspiring life-forms like whales can focus human minds on the urgency of ceasing our destruction of the wild world. Many of humanity’s most intractable problems are caused by disregarding the voices of the Other—including non-humans.

Just imagine what would be possible if we understood what animals are saying to each other; what occupies their thoughts; what they love, fear, desire, avoid, hate, are intrigued by, and treasure. If we could communicate with animals, ask them questions and receive answers—no matter how simple those questions and answers might turn out to be—the world might soon be moved enough to at least start the process of halting our runaway destruction of life.”


Roger Payne, PhD, 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.


Dr. James McBain, DVM

Dr. James McBain, DVM, Retired VP of Corporate Veterinary Services for SeaWorld and Busch Garden Parks. Dr. McBain is considered a pioneering expert in marine mammal veterinary medicine. He has authored and co-authored more than 83 scientific papers, books and presentations on marine mammals and is recognized worldwide for his experience and expertise. Dr. McBain is seen by his peers as having fundamentally altered the way in which marine mammal medicine is practiced.

Dr. Stephanie Norman, DVM, is a veterinary epidemiologist and wildlife veterinarian with over 20 years of experience in the investigation of disease in marine mammals for NOAA and others. Her epidemiological work includes disease surveillance, risk factor studies, special epidemiology and GIS, epizootic and outbreak investigations, the impact of climate changes on marine life and their diseases, ecosystem health, and epidemiological modeling applies to species conservation and recovery. She is currently part of the independent veterinary team consulting on the medical care for Tokitae.

Dr. Stephanie Norman, DVM

Dr. Tom Reidarson DVM, DACZM

Dr. Tom Reidarson DVM, DACZM, CEO of the Reidarson Group and former senior staff veterinarian and director of veterinary services, SeaWorld of San Diego. As CEO of the Reidarson Group, he directs the development of cetacean health and fitness programs of preventive care. His work brings together marine- mammal specialists in the fields of internal medicine, ophthalmology, reproductive physiology, nutrition, infectious diseases, water quality and surgery.

Enrichment / Whale Care and Training Team Leaders

Michael Partica, BS Marine Biology, has extensive experience working hands-on with cetaceans in training, capture, transport, rescue, rehab, and research. He has experience working with orca, bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins, and humpback dolphins in various parts of the world, including Honduras, Turkey, Greece, Indonesia, New Zealand, Washington state, Florida, South Carolina, western Africa, and throughout the Caribbean. In addition to both wild and captive cetaceans, Mike has experience working with both pinnipeds and sirenians. His work at Coral World Ocean Park over 17 years has included developing and implementing protocols for training, husbandry, and enrichment as well as rescue, rehab and research with sea lions, dolphins, turtles, and sharks. Mike has worked with other organizations on training, enrichment, rescue, research and conservation projects, including projects involving the Southern Resident Orcas in the Pacific Northwest and other orca populations around the world, especially in New Zealand which included teaching rescue personnel training and care techniques commonly used in captive settings that have application in the care of rescued orca and other cetaceans. In addition to Mike’s extensive experience with marine mammals, he also has experience working with primates, large cats, and various other exotic species.

Mike Partica – Care Team Lead

Jeff Foster – Enrichment Specialist & Transport Lead

Jeff Foster has spent his whole life around wild and exotic animals. He grew up as the son of a prominent zoo veterinarian, giving him experience caring for and managing animals from an early age. Jeff has worked in the marine mammal field for 45 years. He got his start working for SeaWorld and the Seattle Marine Aquarium at the age of 15. He has worked in all facets of the marine mammal field including capture, animal husbandry, training, rehabilitation, research and reintroduction. And he has traveled the world helping to conserve and protect wild dolphins and other marine mammals. Jeff has been credited for developing the first successful formula for a neonate cetacean as well as being instrumental in developing behavior enrichment devices for captive marine mammals.