Whale Wednesday: Spotlight on Keto

No, you’re not seeing a duplicate post. In fact, this week’s whale is closely related to Keet who we covered two weeks ago – he’s his brother! Don’t worry, I sometimes get them mixed up too, but this is the whole point of Whale Wednesday – to learn about each whale and how to tell them apart! This is still a learning curve for me, too… and my ID skills do need a little work!

But enough of my waffling, let’s jump into Keto’s Whale Wednesday entry!

His Life at SeaWorld and Loro Parque

16- Keto1

Keet is a 20 year old bull orca who is currently residing in Loro Parque, Tenerife. He was originally born at SeaWorld Orlando to Keet’s mother Kalina, the original Baby Shamu, and Keet’s father, Kotar.

Keto was the main reason that Keet was separated from his mother; she was pregnant with him and it was decided she needed to be moved to Orlando to give birth. He was born on June 17th, 1995.

He is one of the only whales in SeaWorld’s collection to have lived in all four SeaWorld parks which have been open, but was eventually moved to Loro Parque in 2006 with 3 other orca. The move was considered to be strange, as many people questioned why SeaWorld would send four orcas to Tenerife on loan to a park which had untrained staff and pools which were’nt ready.

His Temperament at Loro Parque

Since being at the Tenerife park, Keto has sired two calves with Kohana, who is his half-niece, making both calves inbred. Adan was born in 2010, and later Victoria was born in 2012, but sadly passed away at around 10 months of age.

Above you can see Keto being prepared to endure an endoscope procedure. This had to happen as the whales were eating the unfinished tanks when they arrived at Loro Parque – why did SeaWorld let this occur? You can see he’s quite distressed.

His life at Loro Parque has been plagued by tragedy and one such example of this is documented in the movie Blackfish. On December 24th, 2009 – just 69 days before the death of Dawn Brancheau where the infamous Tilikum was involved, Keto rammed and killed one of his trainers. Alexis Martinez was rehearsing a Christmas show with the whale when Keto decided he’d had enough and rammed his trainer; dunking him multiple times before leaving him to drown. He had completely punctured his chest. I believe Alexis is the trainer in the middle on the right hand side of the above video.

It is quite possible that his moving around all 4 parks before he was five years of age caused him to have anger issues. However, many orca websites have reported that it is incredibly difficult to find anyone who will talk about their experiences with Keto. We will never know why Keto acted the way he did – much like we will never understand the reason Tilikum attacked and killed Dawn.

He is a very dominant whale, which is uncommon in male orca; what with orca pods being lead by matriarchs rather than alpha males.

How To Identify Keto

Keto has a left lying collapsed dorsal fin which is very rounded at the tip. His eyepatches are quite ragged; they’re round but their edges are fuzzy – not smooth. He also has very round looking tail flukes.

In the video above, Keto is the larger orca at the beginning; Kohana, his half niece and father to his calves is the other whale.

Keto weighs just over 7,000 pounds and measures 20.5 feet in length.

Keto is known for showing his power, and even before the ban was put into place, waterwork could be very sketchy with him. Just like Tilikum, he has been vilified for his attack, which has probably stemmed from his frustrations during his short life in captivity.

Much like Tilikum, I don’t believe for a second that Keto killed because he’s a savage animal. Yes, he’s an apex predator, but surely this just proves we can’t keep them pent up in captivity forever? I believe that he had many frustrations that he couldn’t vent, and acted out in a way which many humans would have acted. I’m not saying violence is right – in fact, I’d rather there be no violence at all, but being kept in as space that small for 20 years of your life – wouldn’t you be angry at being ordered around and have food kept from you until you did what you were asked?

Please be sure to head over to my Facebook and Twitter pages to keep up to date with all my updates! I really want to get an active community going there, so I’d really appreciate it!


Banner pictures of Keto Copyright to Annemieke Podt. All Rights Reserved



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