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Save Willy: Bridget Bardot begs Mette-Marit

September 10, 2002
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French former sex kitten-turned-animal-rights-activist Brigitte Bardot has penned an open letter to Norwegian Crown Princess Mette-Marit pleading for a guarantee of safety for Keiko, the killer whale featured in the movie Free Willy. 

In a supremely ironic twist, 25-year-old Keiko, who underwent a four-year-long, $20 million programme to rehabilitate him into the wild, has turned up in one of the few countries which still permits whale hunting. His appearance in a Norwegian fjord after just a month in the wild has sparked off controversy. 

Some experts are calling for him to be shot, claiming this would be kinder than leaving him to starve to death in a Scandinavian winter. Meanwhile, pro-whaling parliamentarian Steinar Bastesen has suggested that the whale – who spent nearly two decades performing to crowds in North and Central America – be deported to the US. 

Local fishermen have also been complaining about the effect of the former aquatic movie star’s presence on the fish situation. In her letter, which was published in Norwegian papers last Saturday, Brigitte described Crown Princess Mette-Marit as embodying “the hopes and the future of Norway” and called upon her to “do the right thing so Keiko can have a decent life in Norway’s waters”. 

Plans are currently in motion to escort Keiko, who has been frisking with ecstatic Norwegians since his arrival, out of the fjord before it freezes over. 

Latest reports say the mammal is due to receive antibiotics after a test revealed an excess of white cells in his blood. “This could mean that he has a cold or that he’s stressed,” says Fernando Ugate, a member of the support team currently keeping a watchful eye on Keiko and supplying him with over 110lbs of fish a day.

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