Dear Friends of Lolita,
We have good news and bad news for you today...
First, the bad news - some very disturbing news to report to you today regarding the Miami Seaquarium and Keiko:
Many thanks to Mark Berman of Earth Island Institute for getting us the word on this - here's the message from Mark:
THIS IS NO JOKE. MIAMI SEAQUARIUM HAS APPLIED TO THE NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE TO CAPTURE, IMPORT KEIKO , FOR PUBLIC DISPLAY!
THE APPLICATION WILL NOT REACH FED. REGISTER FOR A TIME, BUT WE NEED TO INSIST TO NMFS TO REJECT THE APPLICATION AND RETURN IT TO SEAQUARIUM.
WE NEED TO DEMAND FROM ARTHUR HERTZ HE IS MAKING A BIG MISTAKE HERE AND MUST WITHDRAW THE APPLICATION. I HAVE CALLED TWO MEDIA OUTLETS. SPREAD THIS FAR AND WIDE!
NORWAY STILL HAS STATED THAT KEIKO IS SAFE THERE, BUT WE NEED TO HIT HARD HERE IN THE US, AND ALSO ASK NORWAY TO NOT ALLOW ANY CAPTURE OR INTERFERENCE WITH KEIKO'S PROGRESS.
HERE ARE THE CONTACTS:
Gene Nitta, Director of Protected Resources, NMFS
phone: 301-713-2289 , fax: 301-713-0376.
Miami Seaquarium Arthur Hertz, owner
phone: 305-361-5705 fax: 305-365-0075
You can also send a message directly to the government of Norway, to the Ministry of Environment
The Ministry of Fisheries can be reached via email:
or phone +47 22 24 90 90 or fax +47 22 24 95 85.
LET'S STOP THIS INSANE IDEA BEFORE IT GETS TO THE FED . REGISTER! WITH ENOUGH PRESSURE FROM WORLDWIDE WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO KEEP KEIKO FREE!! DO IT FOR KEIKO , THE OTHER POOR CAPTIVES, AND OURSELVES.
Earth Island Institute
All of you who have been following the Free Lolita campaign know what deplorable conditions she is living in at the Miami Seaquarium - to think that Hertz could be bold enough to now ask for another whale to share that tiny tank is preposterous! This would not only be a setback for Keiko, but would be putting him back in the same inhumane conditions he was rescued from in Mexico at the very beginning. This is a reflection of the fear the Marine Park Industry is feeling in the wake of Keiko's progress this summer - he is basically a free whale, and that sets a precedent the industry does not want to even think about.....
Howard and Susan
Second, a very belated update on Keiko's progress: (more below from HSUS & other news sources):
Keiko has traveled nearly 1000 miles from Iceland to Norway, arriving in fine shape! Unfortunately, he arrived in Norway alone, not with the orcas he had been traveling with. Therefore, when he entered a populated bay in Norway, and people went out to greet him, he sought their company in the absence of orca friends or family. But we see this as a minor setback, and HSUS will be moving him to a more isolated bay near an area frequented by orcas this time of year. He will remain free and unpenned, and will continue his reintroduction process. He has made amazing progress this summer! Many thanks to the Humane Society, the Free Willy/Keiko Foundation, and Earth Island Institute for their perseverance and hard work over the past eight years!
MORE INFO. ON KEIKO'S PROGRESS:
For full story go to: HUMANE SOCIETY UPDATE
- (Webmaster Note
: Dead Link)
"After 60 days at sea and traveling more than one thousand miles, Keiko is strong and does not appear to have lost any weight whatsoever," Cornell stated earlier this month. "There can no longer be any doubt that Keiko has foraged successfully." Cornell's statement echoes The HSUS view of Keiko's summer in the wild: The orca has made unprecedented progress. "By all accounts, Keiko has made phenomenal progress this year," said Dave Phillips, director of The Free Willy/Keiko Foundation. "He's proving he has the skills to be a wild whale, but it is critical that he not be encouraged to come to boats or people."
Team Prepares Winter Home for Keiko
By DOUG MELLGREN
OSLO, Norway -- Animal handlers for Keiko the killer whale are looking for a quiet place where the "Free Willy" movie star can spend the winter away from the fans who have swamped him with attention. "What we want is a place with more killer whales, less people and a local community that is supportive," David Phillips, part of Keiko's team, said Thursday........
Phillips, a marine biologist, said the area has plenty of fish and nearly 600 killer whales, which would allow Keiko contact with his own kind. He said a decision was expected next week at the earliest. If moved, Keiko would be led by a boat, Phillips said. He said the orca is in excellent health. Phillips said they still hope Keiko, who was captured near Iceland in 1979, will one day "choose the whales over the people," despite the setback of him seeking, and getting, human companionship Norway.
Keiko's Veterinarian Proclaims Him To Be Thriving
Nearly 60 days after the orca whale Keiko left his sea pen in Iceland this summer as part of a historic and unprecedented effort to reintroduce him to the wild, visual observations made in Norwegian waters confirm that he is in excellent health. During the past three days, Keiko Project staff obtained close-range photos and video documenting Keiko's physical condition.