To you I am nobody but I have a story that I hope will resonate with you, and maybe just maybe you will share it and it will help in some small way.
I am a twenty something from Australia and my favourite animals, second only to maybe my dalmatian Roxy, are orcas. They have been for as long as I can remember. As it did for many, my love for these gracious creatures began with one orca named Keiko. Like the world I fell in love with Keiko during his portrayal of Willy in the Free Willy movie franchise.
As a five year old I fell in love with the way that he obeyed Jesse but yet was so gentle. Growing older opened my eyes to much more,on screen Willy was portrayed as loving, misunderstood and lonely, something that is clearly visible in footage of Keiko prior to his death. Today over 10 years after his passing Keiko is still a symbol for the captive whale industry but also an example that wild rehabilitation is a possibility and an option for whales currently in captivity.
One of the contributing factors to the continuing intrigue surrounding Keiko, making him forever relevant was his condition during the time of filming. During the filming of the first Free Willy movie Keiko is in a horrible condition. The skin under his fins appears rubbery due to a fungal infection ( brought on by poor and artificial water conditions) and he is severely underweight. Although not shown in the movie, Keiko was unable to hold his breathe for periods anywhere close to what he should of been able to. Despite all this he was always happy to please and be in the company of humans. But is it this that makes our betrayals towards the species all the worse?