YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsOrcas


February 22, 2004 | From Times Wire Services
Nearly 700 people turned out to bid farewell to Keiko, the killer whale who starred in the popular "Free Willy" movies and died of pneumonia last December in Norway. The crowd gathered at the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport, where Keiko lived from 1996 to 1998. Officials at the aquarium organized the event in response to hundreds of e-mails, letters and phone calls from Keiko's fans who sought closure.
February 3, 1996
Killer whales, the distinctively patterned black and white whales made famous by marine shows and the movie "Free Willy," have been seen in increasing numbers off the Orange Countycoast. Not known to attack humans, killer whales prey on marine mammals, including larger species of whales. * Killer Whale Facts Class: Mammal Genus and species: Orcinus orca Range: Worldwide, but more common to subarctic and arctic regions.
September 7, 2002 | From Times Wire Reports
Norwegian officials barred people from getting near or feeding Keiko the killer whale, hoping to protect the star of the "Free Willy" movies from hordes of fans and aid his return to the sea. Experts leading a $20-million project to return Keiko to the wild have pleaded with people around the Skaalvik Fiord where he showed up last week to leave the whale alone. Local officials said the ban was imposed because hundreds each day had ignored the appeals. Police will fine violators.
Free Willy still isn't. But a C-130 transport plane awaits. So does a high-tech hoist that will lift the 7,000-pound whale from his cramped tank at Mexico City's Reino Aventura theme park. On Sunday morning, the killer whale that starred in the 1993 Warner Bros.' film "Free Willy" is scheduled to finally begin a long, expensive journey from the park that has been his controversial home for more than a decade. He will soon be in a custom-built, $7.3-million rehabilitation facility in Oregon.
June 10, 1998 | From Associated Press
Iceland approved plans Tuesday to have "Free Willy" star Keiko moved from the Oregon Coast Aquarium to a large pen in an Icelandic bay, in preparation for the killer whale's release into his native waters. Iceland Prime Minister David Oddsson cleared the way for the move to take place as early as September. The orc was captured in that country at age 2.
October 16, 1998 | From Associated Press
Killer whales that normally hunt seals and sea lions are now feeding on sea otters and creating an ecological crisis along the entire Aleutian Island chain of western Alaska, researchers say. The sudden loss of thousands of sea otters is allowing a boom in the population of sea urchins and those animals, in turn, are stripping the undersea kelp forest, laying bare vast areas that once were lush with the marine plant.
March 4, 2000 | From Reuters
Keiko, the killer whale star of the "Free Willy" movies, swam out of his pen into the enclosed waters of a remote Icelandic bay Friday to the delight of a nature group preparing him for a return to the wild. The 5-ton whale poked his nose through an underwater cage and moved into another pool where he will have medical tests.
February 28, 2003 | From Times Wire Reports
Keiko the killer whale, made famous by the "Free Willy" movies, encountered ice as he came up to breathe in Skaalvikfjord, seven miles southwest of his home in Taknes Bay, Norway, and panicked, a marine biologist said. But the 6-ton orca broke through after several attempts. "He got some scrapes on his skin, and it will take some time to heal. However ... there is no concern at all," Colin Baird said, adding that he thinks Keiko has learned from the experience and is unlikely to get stuck
June 4, 2001 | From Times Staff Reports
A small pod of killer whales was sighted Sunday several miles offshore. Four killer whales were spotted by a private boat about three and a half miles from shore at about 3 p.m. Commercial tour boats also followed the animals, which are a type of dolphin. They bumped the boats several times and were "very playful," said David Anderson, the captain of the Dolphin Safari tour boat. The boats lost sight of the pod about a mile from Dana Point Harbor at around 4:30 p.m.
June 15, 1999 | Associated Press
A killer whale tried to bite a trainer during a show before hundreds of spectators at Sea World, but the trainer escaped injury by quickly jumping out of the water, a SeaWorld spokesman said. The show ended a few minutes earlier than usual Saturday afternoon after the 5,000-pound whale named Kasatka tried to "nip" the trainer, spokesman Bob Tucker said. "Attack is definitely the wrong word," Tucker said. "The trainer turned around and performed in the next show later that night."
Los Angeles Times Articles