Free Willy Tugged At Our Heart Strings!
This movie spoke to the amazing bond between a boy and a whale and the boy’s deep desire to see him freed. With a Hollywood ending Willy jumped an enormous sea barricade wall and swam off into the sunset. The real life of Keiko who played Willy was not so grand. He was captured in 1977 at one year of age and after stays in Iceland and Marineland in Ontario – Keiko was sold to Reino Aventura in Mexico City. Plagued by skin lessions and poor health – Keiki was nonetheless the star of Free Willy in 1993.
He made many millions of dollars for Warner Brothers. Following a strong public outcry – they assisted in his eventual release from the amusement park in Mexico and his eventual return to Iceland. Keiko died of pnemonia on December 12, 2003. He was 27 years old. He spent most of his confined, adult life amusing humans.
Keiko’s story was certainly a vehicle that helped to bring the plight of whales back into public consciousness. On another note the award winning documentary The Cove is bound to keep it there. The Cove is about the annual October 1st slaughter of dolphins in Taiji, Japan – the island of Honshu. Watch this issue – as Japan is lobbying for the 2020 Olympics. Of course China was awarded the Olympics in spite of their appalling lack of human rights and animal welfare and protection laws – so it will be no surprise if Japan is a serious contender.
NOTE: Some Images Are Difficult To View
In the 1970’s a public outcry started against whaling and in 1982 The International Whaling Commission (IWC) adopted a moratorium against whaling. As of April 2011 – 89 countries are menbers. The problem is that there is no treaty – this is a volunteer organization.
Some countries have opted out of the IWC and established their own quotas. Japan – Norway – Iceland and Greenland to name a few. To give you an idea of Japan’s lack of respect for whales – in a Australian ABC television interview in July 2001 – Japanese Fisheries Agency official Maseyuku Komatsu described Minke Whales as “the cockroaches of the sea”.
An as with all ocean related issues – the controversies rage on. It is always about politics and power – money – business and international posturing.
Canada – Engages in whaling by Inuit groups. Canada is not a member of the IWC. We remain strangely silent even though the USA has encouraged us to become involved. But is this indifference really a surprise considering our on-going brutal seal hunt?
Faroe Islands – Not a member of the IWC. They slaughter Pilot Whales every year by stranding them and then killing them.
Iceland – Resumed commercial whaling in 2006.
Indonesia – Lamalera – the hunters obey religious dictates and use every part of the whale.
Japan – Scientific whaling. This certainly doesn’t explain the whale meat in Japan’s most expensive restaurants. The Sea Shepherd has been disturbing Japanese whaling fleets in the Antarctic since 2003. How curious that Japan has an 8 vessel scientific whaling fleet. Japan wants to overturn the 20 year moratorium on commercial whaling and is working to that end.
Norway – resumed whaling in 1993.
Russia – scientific whaling.
South Korea – July 2012 – we will engage in scientific whaling in our own waters.
United States – whaling for indigenous people in Alaska.
The modern whaling harpoon consists of a deck-mounted launching device with a large harpoon connected to a thick rope or cable. The spearhead is shaped so that it can puncture through the thick layers of whale blubber and lodge in the whale’s flesh. It has sharp spikes that stop it from sliding out. The whale is then reeled into the ship with a motoized device for immediate processing – sorry I meant to say for scientfic research!
Listed below are some of the whales who live in our oceans today. Some whales bond for a short period of time and others for life. They communicate with sounds, body movement, clicking, whistling and singing.
There are 2 types of Whales:
Baleen Whales – feed on krill and plankton.
Toothed Whales – feed on fish and small mammals.
Blue Whale – the largest creature to have ever lived. Estimates are that the biggest males can be up to 120 fet long and weight from 180 – 200 tonnes. They have a heart the size of a small car.
Killer Whale – Orca
Minke Whale – on the world’s endangered list!
Right Whale – Southern Right Whale and the North Atlantic Right Whale
Sperm Whale – the largest of the toothed whales
Pay attention to the issue of whaling as it is sure to remain front and centre in the news!