Part of ‘Corky Freedom Banner’ returning to Alki after 14 years

An advocate of freedom for captive orcas is on a journey from San Diego to Canada, stopping on Alki tomorrow evening with a historic display: Part of the “Corky Freedom Banner” that was displayed on Alki 14 years ago. We’ve just heard about this from Terri, who is organizing the event with Christine Caruso, the Seattle teacher who is on the West Coast journey. “Corky,” Terri explains, is an orca who has been captive longer than any other at SeaWorld San Diego, captured in British Columbia 45 years ago. In 1999, children around the world made pieces comprising a mile-long banner urging freedom for Corky; it was shown at various stops along a bus tour, including Alki, in 2000, as reported by The Seattle Times (WSB partner). Christine is traveling with pieces of that original banner; you can see them and talk with her 6:30-8 pm Friday at the west-end picnic area of Alki Beach.

5 Replies to "Part of 'Corky Freedom Banner' returning to Alki after 14 years"

  • Donna, The Whale Trail August 15, 2014 (12:37 am)

    Nice to see the banner return. I organized its display on Alki back in 2000; it stretched a long way down the beach!

    A little later, we draped it around the rotunda in the Capitol, where we were hosted by then-Secretary of State Ralph Munro. The Puyallup tribal school made sections for the banner, and the rotunda reverberated with their drumming and singing. Paul told the children about Corky, and Ralph told them about witnessing the last orca capture on Puget Sound. It was quite a day.

    Fourteen years later, Corky is still holding on. And we now have Springer’s success as a model – and proof – that orcas can go home. Hope it will happen one day for Corky and Lolita, too.

  • seaopgal August 15, 2014 (7:21 am)

    I am looking forward to seeing this banner!

  • Terri August 15, 2014 (7:37 am)

    Donna!!! I hope you can come by to see the banner again this evening. Christine and I would love to meet you and hear more about the original banner experience.

  • sillygoose August 15, 2014 (2:34 pm)

    I appreciate the effort for this little guy but also wondering after 45 years in captivity would he be able to survive on his own?

  • Donna, The Whale Trail August 15, 2014 (4:40 pm)

    Corky’s a female, sillygoose…and not very little ;) She’s middle-aged for an orca, and could live another 30 years or more. There are female orcas in our local pods who are 80 years and older – including Granny, who’s estimated to be 101. Corky’s mom (A-23) was alive until just a few years ago.

    It would take a lot of rehabilitation to build up Corky’s stamina, and retraining to hunt and fish again. It would happen in phases, and she wouldn’t be released unless and until the care taking team determined she was ready. Members of Corky’s family are still alive, and might well remember her. It’s a long shot, but it’s worth trying – a question that at least deserves a chance to get answered.

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