It’s Time For a Serious Hard Look at Free Willy Keiko’s Story

It’s time for the press and public to take a new serious hard look at Keiko’s story. Following the release Blackfish, The New York Times addressed the issue of captivity of orcas in its article “Smart, Social and Erratic in Captivity”

(http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/30/science/smart-social-and-captive.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&).

In discussing alternatives to captivity, it cited the use of sea pens. Yet, it failed to mention Keiko and how sea pens were used in his rehabilitation and where it led. Keiko’s release from captivity is often cited by the media and marine park industry as a failed project and given as the reason other orcas should not be released. Factual errors regarding Keiko’s reintroduction into the wild abound, including media coverage to the effect that Keiko was attacked and killed by wild orcas, that Keiko was constantly supervised and fed and never was self-sufficient in the wild, and that Keiko lived less than a year after being freed. All of these statements are incorrect. In fact Keiko spent the last years of his life free from the confines of an ocean sea pen after navigating from Iceland to Norway on his own. Keiko The Untold Story of the Star of Free Willy (https://www.keikotheuntoldstory.com) documents Keiko’s story with first hand accounts and is a must see for those seeking an end to captivity.

Jay Schornstein, Executive ProducerJay Schornstein
Executive Producer
Keiko The Untold Story of the Star of Free Willy

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Nowhere in recent history has a captive mammal garnered so much attention as Keiko, the orca star of the 1993 hit film, “Free Willy.” The film’s success, partnered with growing public interest in animals held in captivity, launched a children’s crusade that called for Keiko’s release into the wild. The result: a multimillion-dollar project that spanned four countries, weathered endless controversy and lasted nearly a decade. Through first-hand accounts by the marine mammal experts charged with his care, “Keiko The Untold Story” follows Keiko, his life, his legacy of hope, and the untold story of his extraordinary years in Iceland and Norway.