Audience versions of this page: FamilyOn December 12, 2003, Keiko, one of the most famous killer whales in the world, died of pneumonia in a Norwegian fjord. He was 27 years old.Keiko was the title character in Free Willy, a movie about a boy setting a captive whale free. Free Willy brought attention to the conditions of Keiko’s own captivity in a Mexico City, Mexico, amusement park. Keiko was captured in the North Atlantic Ocean as a calf. He grew up in aquariums in Iceland and Canada before being sold to the facility in Mexico.Many people and organizations advocated for Keiko’s return to the wild. Some marine biologists, however, were skeptical about the plan. They thought Keiko was far too acclimated to living with people and would be unable to adjust to life in the open ocean.Nonprofit organizations and multinational corporations bought Keiko from the Mexican aquarium. Keiko was transported to an aquarium in Oregon, and then to a facility in Iceland, where he was trained to live among wild orcas.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry acclimate Verb
to get used to the climate and culture of an area.
to change or modify something to fit with something else.
to argue in favor of something.
amusement park Noun
recreational facility with games, food, and mechanical rides.
a container or tank where aquatic plants and animals are kept, or an institution that keeps such containers.
confinement or imprisonment.
to take or control.
a building or room that serves a specific function.
long, narrow ocean inlet between steep slopes.
Encyclopedic Entry: fjord inspire Verb
to influence to act.
killer whale Noun
carnivorous whale, actually the world's largest species of dolphin. Also called an orca.
marine biologist Noun
scientist who studies ocean life.
multinational corporation Noun
business that manages the production of goods or delivers services in several countries.
nonprofit organization Noun
business that uses surplus funds to pursue its goals, not to make money.
large body of salt water that covers most of the Earth.
Encyclopedic Entry: ocean pneumonia Noun
infection where lungs fill with fluid.
person who lives in a specific place.
person who travels for pleasure.
to move material from one place to another.