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. A vital part of the captivity debate is whether cetaceans ought to have a place to retire, or a place where they can be rehabilitated and returned to the wild. No such facilities currently exist in North America, although headway is being made to change this.
Currently, however, companies like SeaWorld use this to their advantage as they deny the possibility of ever retiring any orca imprisoned within their tanks.
This is why Keiko’s remarkable journey is so important in proving SeaWorld wrong: it illustrates how viable cetacean retirement, rehabilitation and release really is. The film brings you first-hand accounts of those directly in charge of Keiko’s care with the actual footage of how Keiko, the most unlikely candidate for such a project, actually thrived in his post-captivity period for more than five years. He interacted with wild orcas. He left his trainers, followed a wild pod, and traveled on his own from Iceland to Norway, having fed himself for over six weeks and arrived back to his human caregivers in robust physical health. He gained over 3,000lbs during his rehabilitation. And, perhaps most significantly, he became the second longest-lived male captive orca in history at the time of his death, and the only captive orca to be returned to his natural habitat with the successful use of a seaside sanctuary.
SeaWorld does not want anyone to know Keiko’s story – all the more reason for the WCA to show the film, and the truth behind cetacean retirement and release.
You simply can’t have a cetacean freedom movement without viable avenues for getting captives out of their concrete tanks. Keiko: The Untold Story shows the clear path towards this.
To learn more about Keiko’s journey or book a screening of your own, click here.