PBS Stands Behind Lie To The Public That Keiko Star Of Free Willy Who Lived 5 Years Free Died The First Year of Release


By Kirsten Massebeau

Keiko swims free on 2002 by the Orca NetworkIn their lopsided article entitled article, “In danger or endangered? Will world’s lonliest orca be released into the wild?” PBS discusses the release of Lolita the captive whale at the Miami Seaquarium and her possible release if she obtains endangered species status along with her family, still present in the Puget Sound L-Pod.

In this atricle PBS has made a huge blunder. In what looks like a pro-cap move the giant super station has contended that Keiko the star of “Free Willy” who was later released only lived one year in the wild promptly dying. Sadly PBS has not vetted their source or they do not want the world to know the truth as described in the documentary, “Keiko The Untold Story”.

Why PBS quoted Hari Sreenivasan, printing his lie obviously defending orca captivity is the question? “Keiko was the iconic killer whale that starred in the movie “Free Willy”. Keiko was released into the waters off Norway in 2002 but died alone a year later of pneumonia”.(source)

Apparently PBS would have preferred to see Keiko die in a tank truly alone far from the ocean. Howard Garrett Director of the Orca Network and expert on Lolita’s release and Keiko’s life was not included in the interview . Instead Pro-captivity Hari Sreenivasangot got the last word.

This is how PBS Ombsbudsman Marcia A. Apperson, Assistant Director PBS Ombudsman’s Office Responded to my question on their blatant lie:

Ms. Massebeau:
Several messages our office received about this report were forwarded to the PRODUCERS. Here is the response they sent:
Thank you for your comments. It is true that proposed plans to move Lolita, the killer whale, includes time for her to get re-acclimated into the wild before being released completely.  We addressed this briefly in the story. Here is that line: 
 
“That could lead to Lolita being re-acclimated over time and eventually released back into the waters off Seattle, where she was captured in 1970.”
 
It is also true Keiko, the iconic killer whale that starred in the movie “Free Willy,” also had time to acclimate to the wild.  A year after Keiko was fully released into the wild, Keiko died.  We understand there is a passionate debate around Keiko’s death and whether she was properly prepared for returning to the wild or if she died simply of natural causes.  In the future PBS NewsHour may have the opportunity to do an in-depth story about this important debate.
 Best,
Marcia Assistant Director, PBS Ombudsman’s Office
                         Please take action and demand PBS Correct their Story                                                                       to reflect the TRUTH!
                                     @Marcia A. Apperson on Twitter #PBS
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As Blackfish Premieres on CNN Four More Orcas are Captured by “White Sphere” in Russia for the Captive Industry


By Kirsten Massebeau

Orcas captured near Sakhalin Island area  Source: Russian Orcas

Four more orcas captured near Sakhalin Island area, by “White Shpere” a company in Russia. Info provided by Russian Orca 

On October 27, 2013 the Facebook page Russian Orcas shared an image of orcas in a netted enclosure: “New confirmed information: Four more orcas have been captured somewhere in the Sakhalin Island area by the same company as before. In total, now there are eight captive orcas in Russia. Narnia captured last year, plus seven captured this year”.(source) In a short interview with Russian Orcas it was confirmed that the company capturing the orcas in Russia is called, “White Sphere”: “The company is “White Sphere” and its daughter company is “Sochinsky delphinary” (Dolphinarium in Sochi)”. Doctor Ingrid Visser Founder and Investigator at the Orca Trust commented on the image on her facebook page simply saying, “tragic that this happens right when “Blackfish” is making an impact”.

Previously on October 9, 2013 Russian Orcas had reported on another capture by “White Sphere“: “Three more captured Russian orcas join Narnia. An adult male, adult female and juvenile female killer whale were captured recently in the Sea of Okhotsk, eastern Russia, about 50 km south of the place where the young female orca Narnia was captured a year ago. They were transported in trucks for more than 1000 km to the south to the net enclosure near Nakhodka (Vladivostok area) and placed in the same net pen where Narnia was kept for the past year. The three captives were reportedly in a very bad condition after the transport. They refused to eat. The trainers could do nothing. Finally, we’ve heard, that Narnia herself tried something. She brought fish to the three captives and gave it to them. In this way she was responsible for persuading them to eat. This is not the first time one captive has helped others in the same situation. In the book Orca: The Whale Called Killer, Charlie Chin (M1) from the transient M pod encouraged a female in the pod to eat salmon—of course this is strange food for transients—after more than 2 months of refusing to eat. Regarding the four orcas now in Nakhodka, two of them are rumored to be headed for Moscow in November to be placed in the Oceanarium which is being built in the All-Russia Exhibition Centre. Two others are rumoured to have been offered for sale abroad. (Source)

 

On October 24, 2013 the heart-wrenching, fact based, eye opening film, “Blackfish” premiered on CNN. The powerful documentary exposes SeaWorld and the truth about the  death of Dawn Brancheau who was killed by killer whale,Tilikum in 2010. The movie highlights SeaWorld’s lack of concern for the safety of trainers who are working with killer whales, and explores why Tilikum has killed. Once the viewer sees the violent captures of these orca juveniles being ripped from their mothers in the wild there is no doubt what SeaWorld has to done these highly intelligent mammals, and continues to do by enslaving them is wrong. The orca is the largest of the dolphin family traveling hundreds of miles everyday. Orca families have stronger emotional family bonds than humans, staying together in pods for a lifetime. Horrific footage of the violent Puget Sound captures, and Tilikum’s capture brought viewers to tears as “Blackfish” premiered and revealed how very unsuitable orcas are for captivity yet the captures continue.

Blackfish ended up taking the number 1 spot on , “CNN Films: Blackfish #1 In Cable News Last Night In Key Demo Ratings” showing a huge interest in the compelling topic of keeping orcas in captivity. In addition CNN Polls demonstrated that people overwhelmingly believe orcas should not be in captivity yet the captures continue in Russia and Iceland, putting pods at risk of collapse, much like 43 year old captive orca Lolita whose L-Pod remains threatened in the Puget Sound today because of captures. The question looms will people get smart and realize that there is a “Better Way To See Orcas” before it’s too late?

Follow Russian Orcas on Facebook for daily updates on Russian Orcas and you can follow their website Russian Orcas Homepage

Endangered Species Act Listing May be Lolita’s First Step Towards Freedom


By Kirsten Massebeau

Lolita correctedA battle to return the imprisoned orca Lolita also known as Tokitae  to her family the L-Pod in the Puget Sound makes steps forward, and towards freedom. Lolita is on the verge of being listed on the Endangered Species List. NOAA is considering adding Lolita to the Endangered species list to join her other pod mates in Washington thanks to a petition. The Orca Network believes that once she is listed she must be freed, allowed to retire and return home to her family in the Puget Sound:

“This means Lolita will now, presumably, be included as a member of an endangered population and must be accorded all the legal protections provided to her extended family. That would mean that her incarceration in a concrete box for the benefit of the entertainment industry would henceforth be illegal” (source

The cruel Penn Cove round up, 1970

The cruel Penn Cove round up, August 8, 1970

For 40 years Lolita has been imprisoned at the Miami Seaquarium in one of the worlds tiniest tanks. Lolita is known as the remaining survivor of the famous Penn Cove Round up that took place August 8,1970. Seven whales were taken for captivity during the violent round up. Five other whales, including four babies drown. The victims that were killed had their bellies slit and filled with rocks in an attempt to cover up their deaths. But on November 18, 1970 the terrible secret of what happened that terrible day at Penn Cove would be revealed to the world:

“In mid-November a trawler dragged the bodies of the drowned infants into its net. The captain of the fishing boat deposited the dead baby whales on a beach in front of a Seattle newspaper reporter, and the story was immediately told to the world. Six years later this discovery played a major role in a court decision that banned Sea World from ever capturing another killer whale in Washington State”. (source)

Lolita enslaved at the Miami Seaquarium

Lolita enslaved at the Miami Seaquarium for 40 years!

Lolita has been performing at the Miami Seaquarium since 1970. The other seven whales captured with Lolita died within five years of their capture. Today Lolita the last remaining member of those captured from the Puget Sound has a chance at freedom and we can help! NOAA is asking for public comment on her upcoming Endangered Species listing. Please make a comment here. Let them know you support her addition to the endangered species listing and her eventual freedom. Isn’t it time this highly intelligent hard worker is allowed to retire and return home?