Keet, SeaWorld’s Homeless Young Orca, is to be Moved Again – His is a Poignant Story

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Baby Keet with mother Kalina and father Kotar. Keet's father died in 1995, his mother in 2010. (Courtesy

One poor whale always seems to find himself without a pool when SeaWorld decides to play musical whales with its international collection of whales and dolphins.  This orca’s name – quite ironically as you shall see- is Keet, and as the first orca to be born to the first successfully raised captive orca (Kalina, aka Shamu) you might think that he would be treated like SeaWorld royalty, but not so. This first grandbaby Shamu is just moved from park to park to park and back again.
When he was just 20 months old  in 1994 he was left to fend for himself when his mom was moved from their Texas home to SeaWorld Florida.  According to a recent post by Tim Zimmermann, once separated from his mother Keet endured five years of abuse by his tank mates before being moved to SeaWorld California in November 1999 where he was placed with his brother, Keto and another male, Sumar.
Keet in one of his many moves. (Courtesy

In February of 2000, he was again moved along with Keto and Sumar to SeaWorld, Ohio.  That lasted a year before Keet was moved back to SeaWorld, California where he stayed for four years before being moved back to SeaWorld Texas in 2004.  Now he is headed back to California.
How has he handled the early separation from his mother (in the wild they would have stayed together for life), the constant moves and changing tank mates?

Apparently, by throwing up his fish.  Or trying to be so non-aggressive to other whales that he shivers.
The irony of his story is that his name is based on a legend by the Pacific Northwest Tlingit tribe, in which a young man is poorly treated and left to fend for himself on a rock far from shore. In the story the young man first helps an ailing sea lion whose family is so grateful that they return the man to shore.
Once safe, the young man creates the killer whales and asks them to extract revenge on those who treated him badly and left him to die on a rock.  But here is where the story veers from the expected.
The young man then calls the whales back, thanks them for helping, then asks that they never hurt another human being because it was a human who had created them.
And that is the irony of Keet’s name:  unlike other whales that have turned aggressive towards both humans and other whales as a result of mistreatment, Keet just endures, and lives up to the reputation these whales have for never hurting a human in the wild – or in his case, in captivity either.
Now a large male, Keet continues to endure his life peacefully. (Photo courtesey

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