Subject: Info: Free Willie is moving-eventually

Michael Williamson (whe_william)
Mon, 9 Feb 1995 09:47:28

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From: Michael Williamson <WHE_WILLIAM@FLO.ORG>
Subject: Info: Free Willie is moving-eventually
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From:	SMTP%"MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET"  8-FEB-1995 17:15:24.37
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Subj:	`FREE WILLY' KILLER WHALE MOVING TO OREGON, EVENTUAL FREEDOM
 
Date:         Wed, 8 Feb 1995 17:26:35 +1300
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From:         Terry Hardie <terry@bytes.gen.nz>
Subject:      `FREE WILLY' KILLER WHALE MOVING TO OREGON, EVENTUAL FREEDOM
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07-Feb-95 12:53 pm Regular  International
 
`FREE WILLY' KILLER WHALE MOVING TO OREGON, EVENTUAL FREEDOM
 
 
   By Alina Guerrero of The Associated Press
   Mexico City, Feb 6 AP - This time he has a reason to leap.
   Keiko, the killer whale made famous by the film Free Willy, is
heading toward a new home in Oregon and eventual freedom, his owners
announced today.
   The Reino Aventura amusement park where Keiko has lived for the
past decade signed an agreement donating the 3.5 tonnes mammal to
the Free Willy-Keiko Foundation, which plans to eventually free him
in waters off Iceland after a rehabilitation period at the Oregon
Coast Aquarium in Newport.
   The amusement park said the 15-year-old whale, captured off
Iceland at age two, has performed for some 12 million visitors over
the past 10 years. Efforts to free him have been under way since the
Warner Bros film was released in 1993.
   ``Keiko will be the only captive orca whale that doesn't have to
do shows or perform,'' David Phillips, director of the foundation,
said at a news conference today.
   The foundation plans to move him in November.
   In many ways, Keiko is like a typical human teenager -- he's got
skin problems, has grown (to 6.4m) and now wants a girlfriend.
   ``He requires more space, different conditions and also a
companion,'' said Oscar Porter, director of Reino Aventura.
   Porter said the park had ``received letters and proposals of aid
from all over the world''.
   He said it waited until receiving ``an absolute guarantee'' that
conditions in the killer whale's new home would be adequate.
   Philips said the entire project would cost more than $US9 million
($NZ14.16 million) over four years and include Keiko's ``relocation,
rehabilitation, possible mating, possible liberation and
investigations into the whereabouts of the family of Keiko.''
   That includes funds to build a $US2 million ($NZ3.14 million)
7.6-million-litre tank at the Oregon aquarium.
   Experts said Keiko needs to be trained gradually for life at sea
-- weaned, for example, from eating dead fish to eating live ones.
   ``Keiko, who has passed all his life away from the sea, would
encounter serious difficulties feeding himself, caring for himself
and surviving by himself in a hostile environment,'' Porter said.
   So far, the foundation has collected about $US4 million ($NZ6.29
million), including $US2 million ($NZ3.14 million) from Warner Bros
and New Regency Productions, creators of Free Willy.
   The money raised so far includes $US800 from 60 students at Sam
Case Elementary School in Newport, who conducted a letter-writing
campaign and saved pennies.
   They began sending letters in December to prominent businessmen
and individuals, including President Bill Clinton.
   Clinton sent no money, but praised the children for their
efforts. Singer Jimmy Buffett sent $US500 ($NZ786.78).
   Further fundraising efforts will be tied to a movie sequel due
for release next summer.
 
 
AP bs