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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 15, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Keiko never “free”

Help whales assimilate in the wild

It was with great sadness when I read Wednesday’s article about Keiko’s life and death [“The $20M lessons of ‘freeing’ Keiko,” page one, May 13].

I visited Keiko when he was at the aquarium in Newport, Ore., and I got the overwhelming feeling that he was very happy there. You could just tell he enjoyed his much-improved conditions and it felt like he enjoyed watching the people as much as they enjoyed watching him.

Even though I was thrilled to have seen Keiko up close and personal, I was depressed because it felt like he was finally happy, but that would come to an end since we humans thought it would be better for him to be alone in the wild.

I totally agree that he was a bad example and that Corky and Lolita would have a really good chance of making it back in the wild since their families are still around. I’ve heard that the plan for Lolita would be to have her in a pen near her family and watch closely to see what happens. They wouldn’t just let her go without making sure she would fully assimilate back into her family unit. And wouldn’t it be a way better life to be living in a large pen in her native waters than having to perform ridiculous tricks in chlorinated water every day?

The argument that she’d never survive is based solely on the fact that she brings in revenue.

— Gayle Janzen, Seattle

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