Page 3 - Animal Facts

The orca from 'Free Willy' was released into the wild in 2002. What happened next?


The 1993 film ‘Free Willy’ was a box office hit, earning more than $153 million worldwide. The star was a male orca named Keiko, who’d originally been captured off the coast of Iceland in 1979.

After the success of ‘Free Willy’, donations poured in from millions of people so that effort could be put forth to find him a better home. The process of rehabilitating him back to the ocean began in September 1998, which included supervised swims in the ocean. He was finally released into the wild in July 2002. About six weeks later, however, he showed up in Norwegian waters seeking human contact. He even allowed children to ride on his back!

Keiko’s release into the wild was unfortunately deemed a failure, and he died of pneumonia in December 2003. There’s now a memorial in Halsa, Norway, dedicated to him, where visitors can see his final resting place.

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Some Octopuses use Coconuts as Instant Shelters.


Around 2009, octopuses were discovered suctioning coconut-shell halves to their under-sides, and then reassembling them to disappear inside. This is both a predator and prey technique as it can be used for deception or self-protection. Scientists were baffled by this unprecedented and quite frankly hilarious phenomenon. 

It makes the veined octopus the first member of the tool-making animal club without a spine. Although an octopus without shells can flee much faster, it has nowhere to flee to. Thus, the shell provides more protection. 

After the octopus is done using the coconut shells, it arranges them neatly below the centers of its body and walk around them- to quote researchers- “awkwardly.” It should also be noted, that awkwardness is also a behaviour never before seen in octopuses. 

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When cats rub up against your legs, they're really marking you as their property. It's their world, we just live in it!


Cats are always seen as cold, unloving creatures, but that stereotype couldn’t be more incorrect. Love is built into their biology. Anyone who knows cats knows that they live their life mostly through smell. It is only natural, then, that they should also have the ability to release special kinds of pheromones–a type of communication via scent.

When a cat rubs on you in greeting it is actually performing a complex social task that confers a sort of family connection to its beneficiary. Each cat carries its own unique smell. When it mixes that special identifier with that of another creature a group scent is created. Your cat presses its soft side against you to pass its pheromones on to you and to further strengthen the scent of your and its group scent.

In other words, your cat is letting you know that it belongs to you and you belong to it—a rather romantic notion in comparison to the current image created by the stereotype of the cold, unfeeling feline.

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Some awesome lists!

India has declared dolphins to be non-human persons, and it is illegal to keep them in captivity for entertainment


It is illegal to keep dolphins captive for entertainment anywhere in India because India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests has declared dolphins to be ‘non-human persons.’

“Whereas cetaceans in general are highly intelligent and sensitive, and various scientists who have researched dolphin behavior have suggested that the unusually high intelligence; as compared to other animals means that dolphins should be seen as ‘non-human persons’ and as such should have their own specific rights and is morally unacceptable to keep them captive for entertainment purpose,” the ministry said.

It was declared that every cetacean has the right to life, the right to freedom of movement in their natural environment, and the right to the protection of that natural environment. The declaration also states that no cetacean should be held in captivity or servitude, be subject to cruel treatment, or be removed from their natural environment. They are also not the property of any State, corporation, human group or individual.

Dolphins exhibit self-awareness, use tools and, as recently discovered, may even use individual names when communicating with each other!

The intelligence of dolphins is not breaking news – we have known about it for a very long time. It is therefore quite reasonable to view them as non-human persons.

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Divers found mysterious 'crop circles' on the ocean floor of Japan. It took more than a decade to find out what makes them


For more than a decade divers noticed mysterious geometric shapes on the ocean floors of Japan. It was first noticed by divers in 1995. Some likened these formations to "underwater crop circles." The formations appeared and disappeared without anybody knowing who or what created them.

Finally the tiny creator of these elaborate designs was discovered! It is a newly discovered species of pufferfish! These amazing little fish create the circles by laboriously flapping their fins as they swim along the seafloor, resulting in disrupted sediment and amazing circular patterns. It is the males of the species who create these ornate ‘artworks’ to attract mates.

Although the fish are only 5 inches long, the circles they create are 7 feet in diameter! The females come to inspect the circles and if they like what they see, they will mate with its creator. The circles also provide protection for the fish while they mate and lay their eggs.

Scientists have not yet figured out exactly what the female pufferfish are looking for in a design, and which traits they find attractive and which ones are undesirable. Females lay their eggs in the center of a circle and then leave. The male fertilize them and hang around to guard them for another six days.

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