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Keiko's Amazing Odyssey
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Keiko Whale Rescue

The Problem 

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.

Our Action Campaign 

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.

Current Challenges 

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.

Another Successful Cetacean Release: The

Another Successful Cetacean Release: The "Welcome Home Project" of 1990

Eva Marrero, November 2017

In 1988, cetacean researchers in Florida and California carried out a project aimed at shedding light on the effects of short-term captivity on dolphins, as well as examine their reacclimation to the wild. While the International Marine Mammal Project does not agree ethically with capturing wild cetaceans for any reason, even research, the dolphins’ successful return to the wild speaks for itself.

Read Here >

77 Cetaceans Died At SeaWorld While Keiko Was Being Rescued

77 Cetaceans Died At SeaWorld While Keiko Was Being Rescued

Eva Marrero, October 2017

SeaWorld has long rejected the notion that whale captivity is animal abuse, relentlessly defending their profitable incarceration of orcas, dolphins and other small whales.  In one TV advertisement, trainers confidently announce to the camera that their whales “thrive… with the highest standard of animal care in the world.” Yet they routinely deny that whales can be released from captivity. The often point to the Keiko project - the famous orca who was rehabilitated in a seaside sanctuary after his liberation from a facility in Mexico  – as a failure.

However, the numbers clearly say otherwise.

Read More >


Campaign Highlights

"The Free Willy Story": Full Movie

Watch the full movie here!

Buy The Keiko Adoption Kit

Buy The Keiko Adoption Kit

Kit includes photos, posters, a whale pendant, & more! Order yours today.

Order Here
Watch trailer for

Watch trailer for "Keiko, the Untold Story"

Visit the documentary website at www.keikotheuntoldstory.com


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Sign the Petition to Stop SeaWorld's False Claims about Orca Whales