Keiko the star of the Free Willy movie was captured in Iceland in 1979. In 1998, he was flown back to Iceland and a plan to return him to the wild was set to action after he had lived almost his entire life in captivity. Keiko finally departed Icelandic waters with wild Orca in early August 2002. However, about three weeks later he showed up in Norway's Skålvik Fjord, apparently seeking contact with human beings and allowing children to ride on his back.
keiko failed to reintegrate with wild Orca, but on the basis of girth measurements and blood tests, it was assumed that he fed during his 900-mile (1500 km) journey to Norway from Iceland. Keiko switched between different groups of wild killer whales, often remaining on the periphery, at distances of 100–300 meters, with his head pointing toward the closest Orca.Keiko died in Norway while swimming in the fjords on December 12, 2003, at about 27 years of age
Keiko’s keepers said the whale seemed to adapt to living in the wild despite so many years in captivity, learning to slap his tail and do jumps called side breaches
that are typically done to stun fish.
But it has been reported by critics that his release was not successful, as he failed to adapt to life in the wild, due his early age at his capture, long history of captivity, prolonged lack of contact with conspecifics, and strong bonds with humans.