Keiko series part 3
keiko depended less on his caretakers and took a greater interest on his new environment. he gained weight and a lot of muscle tone, while his ulcers and papilloma lesions disappeared. by 2000, keiko was fitted for a tracking device which allowed his caretakers to take him out to the open ocean. this also allowed him to interact with wild orca. keiko began to spend more and more time with wild orca rather than his human caregivers. he even spent 7 days away from his human companions. after 3 weeks of spending considerable time with his wild counterparts he set off on a 1,000 mile journey. the trip led him traveling across the atlantic, a trip in which he survived and thrived. he often interacted with one particular pod, forming a bond with a juvenile male. finally keiko arrived in norway in december and was deemed healthy. he followed a fishing boat inside a norwegian fjord in the halsa community. thousands of visitors flocked to norway to see keiko. the free willy foundation and the norwegian government worked closely to set regulations to keep people from swimming with, feeding, or getting too close to keiko. after keiko’s 5 week journey, dr. lenny cornell concluded that keiko did not lose any weight during the trip. staff eventually lead him into taknes bay to continue working with him. after spending awhile there keiko exhibited signs of lethargy, lack of appetite, abnormal behavior and his respiratory rate was irregular. keiko beached himself and died in the early evening. unfortunately on december 12th, 2003, the free willy foundation announced that keiko died in taknes fjord, norway, in the company of staff members who had been caring for him there. his veterinarian believes acute pneumonia is the most likely cause of death.
keiko's rehabilitation and release prolonged his life by multiple years, gave him the opportunity to interact with his own species, and live as a wild orca once again. keiko’s journey home inspired millions.
i can only imagine what it must’ve been like for keiko to experience his natural environment again after spending years in captivity.
3 days ago
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