Keiko was the whale we had forever changed and no matter how good our intentions, he was the whale we couldn’t fix for him to become what nature had intended: an orca in the close company of other whales. It was impossible for the world’s most loved, most famous whale.
This was the ending statement of a killer whale documentary I watched about a year ago when I had been utterly fascinated with orcas. Keiko is a killer whale captured and raised in captivity from one amusement park to another until he starred in the movie Free Willy in 1993. His publicity had raised petitions and donations for his return to the wild and eventually, after much research, planning, and preparation, he was released… only to discover that his years of captivity has rendered him unable to adapt to life in the wild. Unable to fit in with killer whales of his kind.
This is the sad reality when we interfere with nature’s design: no matter how good our intentions, some things can never be fixed and we reap the consequences of our actions… and sometimes, others reap it inadvertently.
On our behalf.