Keiko was the real-life orca whale star of the hit movie, Free Willy. He was living in very poor conditions in a small tank in Mexico City. Free Willy moviemakers, Warner Brothers, approached us to lead the historic effort to help rescue Keiko.
We formed the Free Willy–Keiko Foundation to spearhead Keiko’s rescue. We built a state-of-the-art rescue and rehabilitation facility at the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport, Oregon, where Keiko was flown to bring him back to health. Once healthy, Keiko was then flown to a large ocean sea pen in his home waters of Iceland. There, he eventually left his pen and swam in the open Atlantic Ocean, often accompanied by wild whales. Keiko was the first captive orca whale ever returned to his home waters, a historic first. He lived out his life free of the stresses and dangers of life in a concrete tank. We continue to tell Keiko’s real-life story and how the retirement, rescue, and possible release or orcas and dolphins can work.
The whale captivity industry has steadfastly blocked all efforts to allow the retirement and potential release of any captive dolphins or whales. They fail to mention their own refusal to help Keiko when he was sick in Mexico, or how 17 captive orcas died during the time Keiko was rehabbed and released. Other captive orcas and dolphins may be candidates for rehab and release. We’re keeping Keiko’s legacy alive to help guide future efforts.
Laura Bridgeman, June 2017
The award-winning documentary Keiko: The Untold Story remains extremely relevant to today’s efforts to liberate dolphins and whales from captivity. This is why the film will be featured at the World Cetacean Alliance conference, happening in Durban, Africa, on June 24-29.
The theme for this year’s conference - Towards Responsible Tourism for Cetaceans – will focus on the plight of captive cetaceans such as orcas and dolphins.
Mark J. Palmer, June 2017
Poor SeaWorld. They can’t seem to do anything right.
On Memorial Day weekend they opened their long-promised “natural” and scientific show of orcas, pretending to show how orcas live in the wild and getting away from the huge circus acts and blaring music of past orca “shows”.
But the show isn’t natural: The orcas still respond to the hand signals of their trainers.
Keiko's amazing odyssey from a cramped tank in Mexico to his home waters in Iceland.Watch
Photographs and information about Keiko, a booklet on the history and habitat of orcas, a Mystical Whale Pendant replica of the one worn by Jesse in "Free Willy 2," a full-color orca poster, a personalized orca adoption certificate, and a special photo of Keiko in Norway.Order Here
Keiko was given a chance that no other captive orca has ever had . . . the chance to go back to his original home waters. Visit the documentary website at www.keikotheuntoldstory.comWatch