Kill Willy?
September 3, 2002 10:30 AM   Subscribe

Kill Willy? The headline of this CNN story is a bit of hyperbole, since it's just one guy advocating euthenasia. But it's depressing enough that Keiko, the orca from the "Free Willy" films who was later released into the wild, has recently appeared on the Norwegian coast, apparently looking for human contact after getting dissed by his killer-whale brethren. God ...
posted by risenc (13 comments total)
That's so sad.
posted by RylandDotNet at 10:39 AM on September 3, 2002

I don't believe the outlook is that grim. Killer whales often exhibit similar social behavior in the wild, playing with boats and attracting the interest of humans; they are, after all, less a whale than a type of dolphin (technically both are 'toothed whales' and common members of the cetacean family). In whale-watching areas -- like the Puget Sound -- this is especially common. The scientists monitoring his reintroduction believe he's making progress toward being more social with other orcas and less with humans. In any case, they are never far away and if he were to become permanently separated, apparently they could either lure him back to Iceland or direct him to the pod. He's hardly been abandoned. Still, the HSUS is accepting donations to the effort and urges people not to interact with him, so he doesn't have an incentive to seek out humans.
posted by dhartung at 10:56 AM on September 3, 2002

I sometimes wonder what became of the two pilot whales that stayed to long in their alaskan feeding grounds and got iced in about ten years back... It was THE story on the news night after night, when finally, the Russians couldn't take it anymore and they sent an ice breaker to free up a path for them to open water so they could migrate south for the winter.
posted by BentPenguin at 11:10 AM on September 3, 2002

Keiko's rehabilitation cost $20 million

Is it really a good idea to spend $20 million to rehabilitate a whale?
posted by einarorn at 11:17 AM on September 3, 2002

he looks tasty.
posted by trioperative at 11:22 AM on September 3, 2002

..but expensive
posted by ginz at 11:25 AM on September 3, 2002

I'm thinking $100/can delicacy for richer-than-thou yuppies. Keiko Tuna! The new status symbol!
posted by Vidiot at 12:14 PM on September 3, 2002

The orca surprised and delighted Norwegians, who petted and swam with him and climbed on his back as he splashed in the Skaalvik Fjord, about 250 miles northwest of the capital, Oslo.

"We were afraid," Neshaug said. "But then he followed us to our cabin dock. At first we were skeptical, and then we tried petting his back. Finally the children went swimming with him."

He said the orca stayed by their dock all night and into the day on Monday, happily eating fish tossed to him by the families.

I'm sorry, but how f**kin stupid are people? It's a whale, not a pet fish. But I guess this is what happens to the whale and to people's imagery of whales when they take them captive and force them to become "actors". It's sad but I think I have to agree with the guy advocating euthanasia. This whale will have no future in the wild. Captivity/those stupid movies killed him.
posted by trillion at 12:45 PM on September 3, 2002

Is it really a good idea to spend $20 million to rehabilitate a whale?

Well, sure, once you consider how much it would cost to kill it. I mean, given the cost of appeals and all.

(I'm sorry.)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:21 PM on September 3, 2002

I spent an afternoon following the whales outside of Seattle last year. When you see these creatures in the wild, you'll never want to visit Seaworld again. It's a shame humans think we know what's best for every creature. It's proof that we should not mettle for our entertainment.

20 million could feed alot of hungry people...
posted by Macboy at 5:33 PM on September 3, 2002

That's exactly what I think. Whales are great but surely that money could've been put to better use considering that if the whale is still following people, he's hardly rehabilitated. Sounds like he would have been happier in captivity, or god forbid, left alone from the beginning.
posted by Jubey at 6:47 PM on September 3, 2002

"yeah! let's take him down!" *pets head of dolphin trophy on living room wall and starts to load rifle* "ain't that right, flipper?.... BUAHAHAHAHA!"
posted by popkick at 7:55 PM on September 3, 2002

Maybe the other killer whales won't play with him because he's got a girl's name (Keiko). What's that all about?

My wife and I spent our summer vacation at a seaside village here in Japan that happens to be the country's original whaling port. No lame defense of euphemistic "research whaling" there, no sir, they are adamant and they've got a statue of a muscular spear guy in front of the whale museum.
posted by planetkyoto at 2:32 AM on September 4, 2002

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