From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2006:
Freeing Keiko: The Journey of a Killer Whale from Free Willy to the Wild
by Kenneth Brower
Penguin Group (375 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014), 2006. 288
pages, hardcover. $26.00.
Freeing Keiko is a biography of the captive orca whale who
rose to stardom as “Willy” in the Hollywood movie Free Willy! and
sequels. Author Kenneth Brower, son of the late Earth Island
Institute founder David Brower, had uniquely privileged access to
effort to rehabilitate Keiko for release, from the 1993 beginning of
Earth Island Institute negotiations to obtain Keiko from the Mexico
City aquarium El Reino Aventura until the Humane Society of the U.S.
took over the project shortly before Keiko finally broke from human
feeding and supervision in September 2002 and swam to the coast of
Norway to spend the last 15 months of his life.
Captured off Iceland in 1979, Keiko spent two years at
Marineland of Niagara Falls, Ontario. Sold to El Reino Aventura in
Mexico City, he remained there until 1996, when the Free
Willy/Keiko Foundation formed by Earth Island Institute moved him to
a newly built super-sized tank at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. More
than 2.5 million visitors came to see him before he was airlifted to
a sea pen in the Westmann Islands of Iceland in September 1998, to
learn again how to be a wild whale.