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Fans, Activists Aghast at Proposal to Kill Keiko

September 05, 2002|From Associated Press

OSLO — A Norwegian whale expert's suggestion to kill Keiko--star of the "Free Willy" movies--has outraged activists and the whale's fans.

Keiko turned up in a fiord in western Norway last weekend, six weeks after being released from his pen in Iceland, where experts had spent years helping the killer whale make the transition from life in captivity to life in the wild. Keiko swam nearly 870 miles to reach the fiord.

A leading whale expert, Nils Oeien, claimed that Keiko has little chance of surviving a winter in the cold Norwegian fiords.

"Then it would be better to put him to death," Oeien said in an interview broadcast by Norwegian state radio. He could not be reached for more comment.

Activists denounced the suggestion. Dag Paulsen, a spokesman for the Norwegian Fisheries Ministry, said killing Keiko is not an option.

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