Magazine article Insight on the News

Whales Come Long Way since Moby Dick

Magazine article Insight on the News

Whales Come Long Way since Moby Dick

Article excerpt

Keiko, the celebrity killer whale of Free Willy fame, has been much in the news since surfacing in a Norwegian fjord a month-and-a-half after having been released from a pen in Iceland. While many fans celebrated Keiko's freedom, some experts involved in his former life as a captive expressed fear that he might be starving and disoriented.

Keiko seemed quite pleased to be back in the company of humans after his thousand-mile journey, during which he often mingled with his own kind. Since arriving in Norway, the 25-year-old orca has frolicked with swimmers, gobbled handouts of fish and accompanied commercial fishermen on their rounds at sea. Norway might seem an odd choice for refuge, being the only country that has no laws against whaling.

Worries about Keiko's fate illustrate the incredible reversal in attitudes that has taken place since the days, not so very long ago, when whales were depicted as monsters of the deep and hunting them was a bold and venerable occupation.

Coincident with news of the latest Keiko sighting, the University of Oklahoma has released a study by a team of biologists investigating the belligerent behavior of sperm whales in the early and mid-1800s. …

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