Do you seriously support killing whales? Isn't it illegal too? How do you sleep at night?
Hi, I just noticed this question. But, yes, I do support the *traditionalharvest* of whales conducted by the Inuipaq and Siberian Yup’ik of Alaska, the Inuit of the coastal Canadian Arctic and Greenland, the people of the Faeroe Islands, and the Makah Tribe of Washington (among others) for subsistence and survival purposes. (Due to my residency in Alaska, from this point on, I will only be focusing on the Inupiaq and Siberian Yup’ik people of Alaska.) Proof of traditional whale harvests is shown
through oral tradition and archaeological data to be long-standing practice, extending as far back as nearly 1,000 years.
Is whale harvesting illegal? No, not if done in a traditional manner by Natives. In fact, in Alaska, there is a whaling commission that monitors the number of whale harvested and allows this lifestyle to be a sustainable activity. There is a set number of whale allotted annually by the commission for all involved whale-hunting villages that cannot be surpassed without consequence.
So, say that harvest number is one dozen whales this year, and Kaktovik has a bounty season and harvests seven whale, while Barrow does alright, harvesting three. This leaves two more whales for the rest of the communities, which in this first-come-first-serve practice might not be so bad, as those who have a bum year will generally receive shares from those who did well that year. I heard that this was the case for St. Lawrence Island this year where a lot of whale was sent their way following a poor season. So really, it’s a generally communist ideology, where people are helping each other to survive.
And why do they choose this lifestyle? Well, I’ve been hanging out on the North Slope a lot this summer and general food items that you buy at the store are often easily going to cost 100% more than what you pay for them due to shipping costs. And when you live in a place where gas is $7.00/gallon and this has been home for 1,000 years, and it’s all you know, and your family is everything, and they all live with you in your village, the easiest and most cost-effective way to be comfortable and survive is to practice a subsistence-based lifestyle.
So then you have to ask yourself: Why are so many people against whaling? Generally the biggest backlash to whaling that people may not even realize is a product of the 1840s-1870s where commercial whaling implemented by Western Culture (which also included Japanese whalers) almost decimated the whale populations for their baleen, oil, and ambergris. Since then, at least in the US, commercial whaling has been made illegal and today the beauty and majestic appearance of the animal, likely due to its massive size, has given the US the hard-lined notion that hunting whales should be taboo. More or less the same goes for other sea mammals such as seal which were also nearly hunted to extinction for their furs.
So if the question was about commercial hunts, like when Japan goes out with little regulation, I’m not so keen on that. But when it comes to survival or an even deeper push into poverty on the back of Western living, yeah, I don’t really mind a few whale being harvested sustainably.
How was this match for you? Well, it was a game where we knew the first goal would be very important because it’s a team that plays with 11 players behind the ball line but things went well, we started well and were able to score two goals in 5 minutes, if I’m not mistaken. And then the game got easier. Obviously what we wanted was to go back to the wins. We know, at this point, that Switzerland won and so did the Faeroe Islands and we have to fight hard because we know this qualifying stage will be rather complicated. But we wanted to go back to the wins and congrats to the team who played really well today.
We were curious, while we were commenting the game because we saw you trace back a lot, almost playing as Defensive Midfielder, in the last 20 minutes, after your 4th goal. Why? Because I felt a little knock. The back of my leg was hurting a little and I didn’t want to force it. I feel okay. They were playing with 9 too. I played a little behind but that didn’t make them score goals so it was good.
What happened now after your return compared to what happened in Switzerland, does it prove your importance in the team? Yes, like what mister said - and I want to thank him for those words - I know I’m an important player, just like all the others are. I try to always do my best ever since I started to play, ever since my first games with the National Team. As a player, I feel useful and happy to play for the National Team. I scored 4 goals today. Obviously I’m very happy to come back after the serious injury I got in the Euro final. But the whole team is to be congratulated. Now we need to stay on track. There are 8 games left and we want to win them all so we can go to the World Cup.
[Portuguese transcript under the cut for those interested!]
And also, can you tell the story of Keiko? I don't know what happened when he was released into the wild, did it not go well? Was he born in captivity? Did he star in in of the free willy movies? When did all of this happen, and when did he die? Don't know much about him, it would be greatly appreciated if you could explain! Thank you loads. :)
*rubs hands together* Hehe, now that I’m at the computer, let’s get this done. (I may summarize this a bit or a lot)
Originally called “Kago”, he was born off the coast of Iceland, supposedly sometime between 1977 and 1978. Jon Gunnarson is paid $50,000 to capture him when he’s about 2 years old. Afterwards, Kago was brought to an Icelandic aquarium/zoo. There is no documentation of his capture, a practice known as “hiding” whales that are in excess of capture permits.
Sometime between 1980 and 1982, Marineland in Ontario, Canada buys Kago and he is kept for an undetermined about of time in a warehouse where he sits in a shallow pool that is devoid of natural sunlight, mental, and physical stimulation and is completely out of view of the public. There is also no documentation of his purchase or transport to Marineland.
In 1982, Kago is first brought out before the public. He is picked on by the older female orcas, and is the youngest of six performing orcas at the park, and is also the most timid. This is when the first skin lesions, caused by a papilloma virus, start to appear.
Then, sometime in 1985, Marineland sells Kago for $350,000 to a park in Mexico City known as Reino Aventura.
The name Kago in Spanish has scatological connotations, so he is given the name Keiko, which means “lucky one” in Japanese. By this time, he’s the main attraction at the park at 7 years old, and performs 5 times a day.
However, his tank at Reino Aventura is meant for dolphins. It’s only 20ft. deep, 90ft. long, and 43ft. wide. The artificial saltwater is a staggering 80 degrees and it’s saturated with chlorine. Keiko eventually grows so large that he can not fully breach, and can not spyhop without his flukes hitting the bottom of the tank.
In 1991, after realizing that he is too large for his tank and may die unless he is moved to a better environment, Reino Aventura attempts to sell Keiko to SeaWorld, but the deal falls apart. SeaWorld instead goes after Tilikum, a bull orca at Sealand of the Pacific who has already fathered calves, while Keiko has fathered none.
In 1992, filming for “Free Willy” begins on location in Mexico City. Before filming ever took place, a caretaker’s 18 month old son fell silently and unnoticed into Keiko’s tank. Being a rather gentle and docile whale, Keiko raised the boy to the surface and pushed him onto the walkway, saving the boy’s life. In an attempt to incorporate this scene into “Free Willy”, producers expected they would have to use an animatronic whale. However, Keiko was given a try and repeated his actions flawlessly on the first take.
In 1993, after “Free Willy” turns out to be a surprise hit in theaters, 300,000 people call the toll-free number included in the credits and express their wish to see Keiko go free.
By now, Keiko is in terrible condition, and attention has been drawn to his unacceptable living conditions. Keiko is severely underweight, has a weak immune system, has skin lesions all over his body, ulcers and digestive problems, and his muscles are weak due to the inadequate amount of swimming space. In addition, Keiko can only hold his breath for 2-3 minutes, as opposed to his wild counterparts who average 10-15 minutes at a time. The outlines of his skull and rib-cage can be seen, and it is clear to everyone working with Keiko that he will die soon if his conditions are not improved.
Between August 1993 and February 1995, numerous officials involved with Keiko meet, seeking the best place to move Keiko so he can recover, and possibly be released back into his native Icelandic waters. Schools all over the U.S. raise money to donate towards Keiko’s rehabilitation. One elementary school in Florida manages to raise $31,000.
In February 1995, Reino Aventura donates Keiko to the Free Willy Keiko Foundation. The Foundation announces that Keiko is to be moved to a brand new $7.3 million rehabilitation facility at the Oregon Coast Aquarium.
Finally, after years of waiting, on January 7, 1996, Keiko is placed inside of an enormous UPS crate, packed with ice water, and driven the 15 miles to the airport, where he endures a grueling 20hr. flight to Newport, Oregon.
Weighing a mere 7,720lbs. and measuring just 20ft. in length, Keiko is placed inside of his new 2 million gallon tank. For the first time in 14 years, Keiko is able to experience natural seawater, courtesy of a closed-loop ionization filtration system. His tank also comes complete with rubbing rocks and oscillating water jets.
By January 1997, he has already gained more than 1,000lbs. Almost all of his lesions have disappeared, his ulcers are gone, and his cardiovascular fitness and overall muscle tone have dramatically improved.
In an attempt to see if it’s possible to bring Keiko to the next step, rehab staff begin to introduce live fish to Keiko’s tank. At first, he catches and plays with them, but doesn’t eat them, sometimes even returning them to his trainers. Eventually, he finally catches and eats his first fish, and is lesion free for the first time since 1982.
In September 1998, Keiko is finally lifted out of his tank in Oregon and is flown back to Iceland, where a 250ft. long, 100ft. wide, and 30ft. deep sea pen awaits him.
As soon as he is immersed in the ocean water, he pumps his flukes to swim clear of the stretcher and immediately dives in. A full minute later, he surfaces and circles the pen, vocalizing and echolocating excitedly. He explores his new home energetically for around 10 minutes before turning to the edge of the pen to visit briefly with his human friends, but he seems more interested in his new home rather than the people. Within 2 hours of being in his sea pen, he starts communicating with a pilot whale that swims into his cove.
Over the next 2 years, trainers work to try and interact with Keiko less and less, except for when they ask him for behaviors that would further his possible chances of full reintroduction into the wild.
On May 6, 2000, trainers lead Keiko from his enclosure on his first “ocean walk”. Throughout the year, Keiko often encounters pods of wild orcas, but doesn’t interact with them for very long. He is, however, able to echo-locate, his diet consists of nearly 100% of live fish on some days, which means he could very well be capable of feeding himself at sea.
Throughout 2001 and 2002, Keiko is fitted with a satellite tracking device and begins spending more time away from the boat and more time attempting to interact with wild orcas. Then, on July 30, 2002, Keiko swam away from the tracking boat, beginning his 2 month long journey of over 1,000 miles across the North Atlantic, by the Faeroe Islands, and to the coast of Norway.
Suddenly, after spending most of the summer free, Keiko enters Skaalvik, a small Norwegian harbor and begins to interact with members of the public. He appears to he exhausted and remains stationary for 18 hours. However, after 60 days on his own, he is strong and has not lost any weight whatsoever, indicating that he was able to successfully forage on his own in the wild.
In September of 2002, the Miami Seaquarium applies for a permit to re-capture Keiko and bring him to their tank in Miami, which is smaller than the one he was saved from in Mexico City. The application is rejected on the grounds that Norway now has jurisdiction and stated flatly that Keiko is just fine, and they don’t believe orcas should be held in captivity anyway.
Finally, on December 12, 2003, Keiko suddenly beached himself and died after contracting Pneumonia, a common cause of death among captive orcas. The day before his death, he had been showing signs of lethargy, lack of appetite, and his breathing was irregular. However, these were advanced signs of his illness.
Now, from a scientific point of view, his release was a total failure, because Keiko never reintegrated into a pod. He sought out the company of humans after his long journey.
However, I, as well as many others, view his release as a complete success. He lived 7 more years all together, and was able to live 5 of those seven years back in his native waters and proved that rehabilitation is possible. He swam over 1,000 miles on his own, fed himself on his trip, and was thriving in Iceland/Norway. Something you would not have said about him when he was still in captivity. Had he not been taken from Mexico City and rehabilitated and then moved to Iceland, he would not have lived more than about 3 more months in that crappy, warm, chlorinated tank.
(anyone want to add anything? maybe some documentary links or book titles?)