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RIP Keiko

Keiko the 'Free Willy' whale dies
Keiko, the killer whale that starred in the film Free Willy, has died in Norway at the age of 27, 18 months after he was returned to the wild.

The six-ton whale apparently suffered a sudden bout of pneumonia in the fjord where he had been living.

Keiko was captured when two, but after the success of the film, he was freed from cramped conditions in Mexico City.

After his release into the wild in Iceland, Keiko swam to Norway, where he became a popular attraction.

Killer whales live an average of 35 years in the wild.

Keiko became ill very quickly, according to Dane Richards who looked after the mammal.

"He exhibited some signs of lethargy and lack of appetite," Mr Richards told the Associated Press.

"We checked his respiration rate and it was a little irregular ... he wasn't doing too well. Early in the evening, he passed away," said Mr Richards.

"They really do die quickly and there was nothing we could do," said Nick Braden, a spokesman of the Humane Society of the United States.

Keiko, whose name means "Lucky One" in Japanese, starred in three Free Willy films, in which a young boy befriends a killer whale and encourages him to jump over an aquarium wall to ocean freedom.

Captured near Iceland in 1979, Keiko ended up in a marine park in Mexico.

Inspired by the films, an international campaign began in 1993 to free Keiko and return him to the wild - the first orca whale to be freed in this way.

"We took him from near death in Mexico to swimming with wild whales in Norway," said David Phillips, executive director of the Free Willy-Keiko Foundation.

After being trained to catch fish, Keiko was released off Iceland in July 2002, and swam to Norway, where he became so popular that he was moved to a more remote fjord for his own comfort.

Mr Phillips said it had still not been decided whether he should be buried on land or at sea.

"My preference would be to bury him on land," he said.

"If you bury him on land we could still recover his skeleton and that might have some value in a museum or something, but that is still being worked out."

homepage: homepage: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/3315519.stm

How sad. 15.Dec.2003 01:23


When will humans just let wild animals be wild?

I am sad too 15.Dec.2003 02:21


Keiko was nice.

We need to be kind to animals whenever we can. They suffer as much as we do, and for what we do to them..... we should all feel pretty sick. They are in our trust and our care, and we need to do right by them. I don't usually comment on Indymedia that much, but what can I say, the animals have no voice, so every word I write is jubarely a drop in the bucket.

But aren't we all happy that we freed Keiko? Let's follow our hearts and keep it up!!

Keiko died in 1998 15.Dec.2003 07:50

Mister memorex

when he was being transported from Newport to Iceland. The truck carrying the
orca tipped over on Hwy 101, leaving Keiko blocking both directions of traffic
and backing it up for miles. Keiko died soon afterward. The media wanted to
downplay this unfortunate turn, worried that it may upset the youngest viewers,
so an elaborate cover up was staged. Much more was at stake here than the loss of the whale, the Oregon Coast Aquarium had hired a truckload of immigrant workers, many illegal, to remove Keiko from the aquarium. The laborers, who were inexperienced in handling large marine mammals, did not use enough bungee cord to fasten the whale on the boat trailer, not to mention the trailer was hauling 80 times the reccomended towing capacity. Outside the local area, just outside of
Newport, few people knew what happened, and only from scattered CB radio
reports from truckers reporting a "big goddamn whale" in the middle of the
highway. However, removing the dead whale was not an easy task, and officials
could not stave the media off for too long. By the 5 o clock news, there was
footage that there was indeed a whale in the middle of a highway, and the
Oregon Coast Aquarium quickly issued a statement asserting that there, in fact
was a dead whale lying in the middle of the highway, and that it was "some
other whale". Meanwhile in Iceland, a replacement Keiko was quickly found, and
under the cover of night, Keiko was removed from US 101, and towed out to sea.
The public was none the wiser, and the wonderful saga of Keiko the whale

It worked for Paul McCartney, and it worked for Keiko.

Memorex, do you have any 15.Dec.2003 23:30


links to that information? Thanks.

that's just wrong 15.Dec.2003 23:50


buried on land? skeleton in a museum?!?! Bah.

When I Saw Keiko 16.Dec.2003 12:59

PortlandVegan Rhodk269@hsd.k12.or.us

I remember when I was little and I went to go see Keiko.... it was the most depressing thing. I was picturing this big area where he's get to swim and such, but when I got there, he was in an aquarium so small he had no way of getting exercise... it was just enough to get by with. And he just sat there like a depressed lump. I didn't understand why h e looked so depressed at the time, as I was too young. But now I look back and I see that it was in all likelyhood because he had such LITTLE living quarters. :( Maybe it's for the best that he's passed on.

Keiko was most of the time in a warm coutry 18.Dec.2003 14:25

Mylene Heep myleneheep@netcologne.de

I think that Keiko used to be in contact with humans, it was in a warm Country and it was very hard to learn to be alone, without its own family in other kind of ocean and other weather, it was unreal that it would make it through all this drastic changes. I am Mexican and I saw this wahle some time ago in my Coutry. itīs so hard to get used to live in other circumstances after living in other country. Mylene.

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Keiko was wonderfull 18.Dec.2003 14:35

Mylene myleneheep@netcologne.de

Keiko will live in our hearts. we will always remember this wonderful wahle.

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Keiko lives in our hearts 19.Dec.2003 07:00


Keiko lives in our herts for ever. We will never forgett you, you are gone but you were a grate humans friend. love forever Mylene.

Keiko, the wonderful wahle 22.Dec.2003 14:58

Mylene myleneheep@netcologne.de

O just say that the humans should leave the animals there where they belong, they should stop to experiment and make money with them. they should live on their own where they really belong. Mylene.

The humans make a lot of mistakes wiht the animals 22.Dec.2003 15:47

Mylene myleneheep@netcologne.de

I habe been reading a lot about Keiko, I think that it was a very big mistake to let Keiko be free, it didnīt really know freedom. why donīt humans leave animals to stay there where they belong? why do they make experimens or even bussines with this beautiful whales? The humans are bad and they canīt do anything good to the whales that are taken away from the ocean, just let the animals be free, ther where they belong. Mylene.

I disagree with setting keiko free 30.Dec.2004 12:00

Lyndsey Stevens smudge9211@hotmail.com

At first i thought it would be nice for keiko to be set free.That was before when i was eight.I am almost thirteen now and i think it was stupid to let him free.There he was in an aquarium for almost all of his life,in a warm country,and used to alot of attention. Then all of the sudden he's set back into the wild.Obviously he wouldnt be used to the ocean and would probably get sick.yes,it would be very nice if he lived happily in the ocean,but i strongly think its not a good idea for any more whales that are in captivity to be set free.Im really sad that keiko died. when i was two ,i owned all three movies (and still do)and i would watch them over and over and over.i would even pretend i was keiko and immitate him as i watched free willy.I had this one orca toy that i got for christmas one year and i named it "keiko".i took "keiko"everywhere with me and if i forgot it somewhere id cry till my mom would drive back and get it.Killer whales have always been my favourite animals,but keiko was my favourite of all! I love Keiko and all ways will! and i think its a shame that he had to die.


My favourite animal 04.Mar.2006 02:22

DJ Keiko

Zawsze pozostaniesz w mojej pamięci...Tu w Polsce też Cię kochali... :-(

Long Live Keiko 09.Mar.2006 13:30


I love Keiko!!! When i found out that keiko was dead i was so upset! Keiko you were such the nice whale, everywhere i go i tell people to call 1-800-4whales just for you! We should all save a whale! We will always remember you Keiko!

Keiko A.K.A. Keiko 09.Mar.2006 16:16

I Love Willy

I was so sad when I herd about Keiko I love the Free Willy Movies it just let's us know how important it is to protect the whales we need to free the whales Free Whilly!!!! I love you Keiko

I'll miss you... Keyko.... 26.Mar.2006 06:07


You were the best......... KEYKOOOOOOOOOOOOO

free willy 31.Mar.2006 05:46

Ashley Jahns

Keiko you where one of my favorite whales in all 3 free willy movies and you where the best in all 3 movies that you where in. I'll miss you keiko.