Cetacean Society International
Whales Alive! - Vol. XII No. 1 - January 2003
Keiko's last Christmas in the wild was in 1978, before he was captured at age one or two. His human-manipulated saga through life has been controversial and expensive, but also enthralling and symbolic. After attracting too much attention with his choice to swim to Norway's Skaalvik fjord this summer, he was taken to the remote Taknes Bay of western Norway, where a small team continues to monitor him, and provide the 50 kg (110 pounds) of fish he requires every day. The Bay was chosen to combine good access to wild orca whales (starting now, in January), protection from winter ice and severe weather conditions, separation from potential conflicts with vessels, salmon pens, and members of the public, an anchorage site and a house, and strong support from local community officials, the public, and animal welfare authorities. He's far from of public view, safe from captivity, but regarded by some as more like a pet than a wild killer whale. No one knows when, or if, Keiko will make his choice about full freedom in the wild.