It's turning into a war of images, where Keiko's obvious pleasure with the place and company he has found is certainly a set-back for the experts who need to prove that he'd be better off in the wild.
"We think people have to take responsibility for what they have done to Keiko by holding him in captivity," said Siri Relling of the Norwegian Federation for Animal Protection. "Let Keiko have a fjord. It's better to have a large fjord than a small aquarium."
From Monterey Herald.com
The poor scientist who dared to say that if Keiko can't handle living in the wild, he should be killed rather than continue suffering, has become the target of indignation all over the world. It's no wonder he's not available, because his quite sensible comments about giving Keiko a painless death if the alternative was long-term suffering have been taken out of context and turned into the headline in papers all over the world. Siri Relling's comment, which mirrors the most common Norwegian reaction to Keiko's appearance is rarely mentioned - and when it is: in the bottom line.
From todays Norwegian broadcast: People living along the fjords don't consider feeding a tame orca (50-70 kilo fish a day) through the winter an economic burden, and are happy to offer a fjord as his aquarium. Norwegian fjords are deep, cut far into the country and are sheltered from the extreme weather of the fjord on Island where he has been kept the last years, and are rich on fish all through the year. Morst of them also don't freeze over, and the orca is a normal part of the fauna.
Behind this is of course a touch of economic interest - imagine what an attraction he would be. But isn't there a slight taint of economic interest from the association involved in "saving" Keiko? Already they have spent 20 000 000 $. How many people live off donations generated by the popularity of the film in order to maintain the effort to return Keiko to the wild?