Animal Welfare Information Center Newsletter, Winter 1997/1998, Vol. 8, no. 3-4 *************************

USDA Facilitates the Formation of Marine Mammal Expert Panel

[Graphic:  drawing of a dolphin]>RIVERDALE, MD, Nov. 24, 1997 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture
 with the support of the Free Willy Keiko Foundation (FWKF) has
 successfully facilitated the formation of an expert panel to
 independently review the health of Keiko, a killer whale
 belonging to the FWKF in Newport, Oregon.
 The panel members include:

Dr. Joseph Geraci of the National Aquarium in Baltimore;
Dr. Jim McBain of Sea World;
Dr. Al Smith of Oregon State University;
Dr. Jeff Stott of the University of California;
Dr. Barbara Kohn of APHIS' Animal Care program; and
Mr. Bud Krames of Dolphin Quest.

The purpose of the panel is to assess and evaluate Keiko's current health by gathering veterinary and behavioral information. The panel will not evaluate Keiko's status as a possible candidate for release into the wild.

The panel expects to complete its evaluation by Dec. 15 and release the results soon after.

Note to Editors: The panel members will not discuss the study nor the results until after the results are released. All media queries should be directed to Jim Rogers, APHIS LPA, (301) 734-8563.

USDA news releases, program announcements, and media advisories are available on the Internet. Access the APHIS Home Page by pointing your Web browser to and clicking on "APHIS Press Releases." Also, anyone with an e-mail address can sign up to receive APHIS press releases automatically. Send an e-mail message to and leave the subject blank. In the message, type subscribe press_releases

This article appeared in the Animal Welfare Information Center Newsletter, Volume 8, Number 3/4, Winter 1998

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May 8, 1998
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