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Home > Popped Clogs

Popped Clog: Keiko

Keiko - actor, swimmer, killer, whale - has died. He was 25.

19 December 2003

In his time, Keiko was quite the film star. He was sometimes described as the “Gregory Peck of the natural world” – a description he found particularly flattering since Moby Dick was one his favourite films. As an Orca, he had a natural distrust of Sperm whales, particularly albino ones, and greatly enjoyed watching Peck trying to spear one.

For photos of Keiko (and his human co-stars) in action, go to Oliver's Free Willy Website:

http://members.tripod.com/~Keikos_Home


For Keiko’s filmography, check out his entry on IMDb:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1430748


...but note the slightly inappropriate silhouette they have there, instead of a photo.


So yes, Keiko the famous whale is dead. And, rare for a whale, his final resting place is not the bottom of the ocean where his hefty bones would be licked clean by crabs and eels. Keiko the famous whale ended up in a big hole in the ground. In Norway.

"The normal practice is to sink dead sea mammals in open sea, but this is a special situation," said Olav Lekve of the Norwegian Fiskeridirektoratet.

A special situation?

Well yes. A sea mammal whose very existence epitomised the quest for a return to the wild had died, and so they decided to hoist the corpse into a tractor-dug ditch in a cold field.

Keiko must be spinning in his grave.

"We wanted to let him be at peace," said one of Keiko’s caretakes, Dane Richards. "He's free now and in the wild."

Well, sort of.

But why stop a hole in a field? Why not airlift him to the top of a Peruvian mountain and let his flesh be eaten by scrawking vultures? That would have been nice and wild. And just about as appropriate.



Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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