Subject: Case Study: 'Free Willy' star gets check-u (fwd)

Mike Williamson (pita@www1.wheelock.edu)
Tue, 7 Oct 1997 13:13:33 -0400 (EDT)

Who is accurate?
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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue,  7 Oct 97 13:52:00 GMT 
From: r.mallon1@genie.com
To: marmam@uvvm.uvic.ca, pita@whale.simmons.edu
Subject: 'Free Willy' star gets check-u

'Free Willy' star gets check-up

   NEWPORT, Ore., Oct. 6 (UPI) -- The killer whale who starred in the
movie "Free Willy" has been given a clean bill of health, less than a
week after the aquarium that houses him expressed concerns about his
welfare.
   The Free Willy Keiko Foundation says independent veterinarians Dr.
Michael Simon and Dr. Deke Beusse declared Keiko healthy and free of all
bacterial and fungal infections after an examination today.
   Officials with the Oregon Coast Aquarium pushed last week for an
independent examination, saying he appeared listless and stressed.
   Aquarium President Phyllis Bell said she's pleased the examination
showed Keiko's health is apparently improving, but wants a "truly
independent evaluation" of the animal.
   Bell said, "If we hadn't come forward with our concerns, the public
would not have known that Keiko has been ailing."
   The orca has lived at the aquarium since January 1996, but is cared
for by the foundation, which owns him.
   The two groups have been at odds over the quality of the water in
Keiko's pool. The foundation contends that Keiko contracted a bacterial
infection from dirty water in July, while the aquarium counters the
water never fell below established health parameters.
   The Reino Aventura amusement park in Mexico donated the killer whale
to the foundation in January 1996 because of concerns about his ailing
health, which has improved since the move.
   The foundation plans to move Keiko to a bay pen in the North Atlantic
within the next 12 to 24 months so he may eventually be released to the
wild.