You were born outside of Iceland in the year of 1977, and when you were two years old you got captured. They, the humans, who only saw money in you, took you away from your mother, your family, your home and your free life. You were put in a small tank, where you were supposed to make money by showing off tricks for more humans. In the aquarium you got sick, because it was too small for you.
In 1993 you became the big star of the movie “Free Willy”, and people felt so sorry for you, so they started to donate money for your release to the wild again. But because you were sick, they had to bring you back to optimal health first. Because of the peoples engagement in bringing you back home to Iceland they where able to donate about 7 million dollars to build you a bigger tank, and you got well enough to be carried by plane to Iceland in a special container.
On September 9th, 1998 you came to Klettsvik Bay in Iceland, where you began your new journey to return to the wild. You were put in an enclosure, but the only thing that was between you and the open gigantic sea was a thin net. Your trainers took you on daily swims in the ocean, and they even found your family again, but because you’d been so long in captivity you didn’t feel any connection to the other whales and you would rather be with humans.
You were released in 2001 and no one had heard anything, until you re-surfaced in Norway in early 2003 at Taknes Bay, where you found two children playing in the water. No one could understand how you made that trip between Iceland and Norway all alone. You became a big hit here in Norway and a local star to the inhabitants of Halsa. Your former trainers from USA came to Taknes bay to look after you, and when winter came they decided to put you lead you further in the fjord. Things didn’t go so well for you. In December 2003 you developed pneumonia and sadly on December 12th, 2003, you died at the age of about 27 years. Your fans requested that there was a memorial for you, and this memorial was held on February 20th, 2004. There is a memorial place set up for you so people can visit your grave in Halsa, Norway.
On this December 12th it’s been 10 years since you died, but you are still the big star as you were so many years ago. I’m crying while writing this, because you, my dear Keiko, were the reason I fell in love with Killer Whales, and why they became my favorite animal in the world. You made a big impression on my heart, and I will always love you. You are the reason I believe your kind and any other marine life shouldn’t be kept in captivity, and I will continue to fight for their rights as free beings. Your not longer here with us, but your spirit still lives out there somewhere. One day, I will visit your grave and personal thank you for making my life so much richer.
Thank you Keiko! I will never forget you, and you will forever be in my heart!
“Rest in Peace Keiko”