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The following story by Corinne Goyetche was posted on the Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion (MARMAM) by Ron Lynds.

For many weeks we had been reading postings on MARMAM discussing the pro's and con's of moving Keiko from a tank in Mexico to a tank in Oregan. This is the first posting that touched our hearts and touches the heart of the matter!

We wish Corinne well with her quest and trust that Keiko will fare well on his journey closer to home. The pictures used in this story were emailed to us by Corrinne with the help Ron Lynds .

Corinnes story has a sequel....

Each year Trish and I present lectures to the Students particpating in the BIO03202 - Marine Mammals: Biology and Conservation at the Southern Cross University Whale Research Centre.

Last year (2007) after we had given our lectures a young woman came forward and introduced herself to us. She said "my name is Corinne Goyetche, you probaly don't remember me"... The hairs on th back of my neck tingled... We certainly did remember Corinne and told her so!

She informed us that she had completed a Bachelor of Science with majors in Biology and Interdisciplinary Studies in Aquatic Resources at Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, Canda and was presently nearing completion of a Master of Marine Science and Management at the National Marine Science Centre, University of New England, New South Wales, Australia and was doing the Marine Mammals Unit at SCU as part of that program.

In early 2008 we contacted Corrine, who by then had completed her Masters Course, and invited her to be our Research Assistant aboard the 2008 Whale Research Expedition.

We are looking forward to working with corrinne and getting to know her better.


Corinne's Story about Keiko

Ron Lynds says "Corinne Goyetche, a thirteen year old Nova Scotia girl, asked me to enter her story on Marmam and let her know the response. Here's Corinne's story in her own words":
(Corinne visting Keiko to discuss her proposal)  
Corinne and Keiko

  Fourteen months ago I started what was to be the most exciting project of my life. It involved the famous whale from the movie "Free Willie" named Keiko and a unique inland sea called the Bras D'or.

  After seeing the movie I became interested in whales and the cruelty of keeping them in tanks so far from their homes. I decided that I was going to help them (Keiko in particular) and that's what I'm doing. I phoned the 1-800-4- whales number which was seen at the end of the movie. It offered kids a chance to truly free Keiko by sending $10 but that's not exactly what Earth Island Institute had in mind. It seemed their plan was to transfer Keiko to a larger, multi-million dollar TANK at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. I told them about my plan to put Keiko in a natural, but controlled environment called the Bras D'or in the center of Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, Canada (See Map) which is on the way to his native waters off Iceland. Keiko could learn to hunt for fish and build up his survival skills while being surrounded by nature's beauty where he belongs. When ready, he could be released back to his family pod.

  (Aerial view of Bra D'or, east of Ross Cove) Aerial view of  Ross Cove

  Let me tell you a little more about the Bras D'or and my plan. First of all, Nova Scotia isn't too far from Keiko's native waters off Iceland (See Map). The Bras D'or is called a lake but it is really a huge (450 sq. miles) inlet of the North Atlantic Ocean--the same ocean where Keiko was kidnapped years ago. It is almost enclosed--there are only two small outlets to the ocean. There is a protected cove in front of our house and we own property which could be used for a project base. In the cove there would be a large sea pen where Keiko could have medical tests done to make sure he's doing alright at first. Most of the time though, Keiko would be in the main part of the Bras D'or swimming, deep diving and exploring to regain his strength. Although the waters around Nova Scotia are home to many whales, there are none in the Bras D'or. This would be like putting Keiko in isolation and decrease the risk of disease transfer.

  At first my parents wouldn't listen to my plan. But I didn't give up and I convinced them and other adults to help me. And with their help I was able to establish the Bras D'or Marine Mammal Rehabilitation Sanctuary. All I need is a whale.

(Ross Cove, site of the Bras D'or         
Marine Mammal Rehabilitation Sanctuary)  
Aerial view of Bra D'or

  There's a lot more to my plan but too much to explain in one article. The Bras D'or is so clean and beautiful that I know Keiko would feel at home here. And there aren't any big cities or many people to bother him. But it's not like there are no people at all. There are a whole lot of people who want to help like vets, scientists, trainers, government people, activists, and lots of whale experts. The point is that the Bras D'or is a perfect, natural place to rehabilitate captive orcas so they can go home.

  Even if Keiko isn't the first whale to be freed via the Bras D'or, there are lots of other orcas who deserve to go home. Like Bjossa, the whale at the Vancouver Aquarium who just lost her third calf. Or Corky the Orca in San Diego who has been in captivity for 25 years. Or Lolita in Florida who has been missing her family for so long. Or many other lonely orcas who wish they were home which, in many cases, is North Atlantic waters.

  (Sunset over the beautiful expanse of Bras D'or) Sunset over Bras D'or

  Even though the people at the Free Willy/Keiko foundation would not give my better, cheaper plan seroius consideration (because they had their own plan) I think it's great that Keiko is in a better, state-of-the-art tank.

  But don't foget that IT"S STILL A TANK. If they are really serious about trying to free him I feel very strongly that they should SERIOUSLY consider the Bras D'or as a second stage of Keiko's release.

  I learned that there are so many politics involved with the release of marine mammals--too many to talk about here. Politics are not important.

  What is important is that some day I will see all whales and dolphins free!

  You can contact me at:

Corrine Goyetche
Bras D'or Marine Mammal Rehabilitation Sanctuary
3080 Marble Mountain Road
West Bay, Nova Scotia, CANADA B0E 3K0

PHONE: 902 345-2149
FAX: 902 345-2333

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