Killing Keiko

Outdoors & Nature, History, Biographies & Memoirs

By Mark Simmons

Publisher : Callinectes Press

ABOUT Mark Simmons

Mark Simmons
Mark Simmons grew up in a Northern Virginia farm community where, at an early age, his father taught him that stewardship of wild and domestic animals requires lifelong responsibility and commitment. At the age of eighteen, Mark had his first encounter with whales and dolphins at SeaWorld More...



Until now, the true story of Keiko, the world’s most famous killer whale, and his release to Icelandic waters, has gone untold. Indeed, millions of “Free Willy” movie enthusiasts have been led to believe that Keiko’s return to the wild was a triumph of storybook proportions. But according to Mark Simmons, author and director of the Keiko animal behavior team, this fantasy couldn’t be further from the truth.

Set in The Land of Fire and Ice, victories and the many setbacks are described in riveting detail portraying the often heart-wrenching process of “letting go.” The story unveils the shocking evolution and collapse of Keiko’s rehabilitation covering his trek across the North Atlantic and appearance in Halsa, Norway.

Revealing a novel perspective on the bond between animals and people, Simmons shares lessons we should not forget. Killing Keiko is an eye opening, emotional account of what it took to study, care for and say goodbye to a most unforgettable whale.

“Among the misinformation and cacophony regarding the public display and release of whales and dolphins, animal behavior and marine mammal expert, Mark Simmons, provides a compassionate and deeply challenging account of the failed experiment to release a killer whale named Keiko. In Killing Keiko, Mr. Simmons sets the record straight and details why the unfortunate star of Free Willy was not ultimately a release candidate and why human agendas led to his death. This engaging, well-written and timely book is a sobering reminder that our human compassion for animals is not always well-conceived and that we need to better understand what our actions actually mean for such animals as opposed to what they mean for ourselves. A must-read for every animal lover out there…”

Gregory D. Bossart, V.M.D., Ph.D., Diplomate, European College of Zoological Medicine (Wildlife Population Health), Senior Vice President of Animal Health, Research and Conservation, Georgia Aquarium