Little Orca Raises Big Debate

Little Orca Raises Big Debate »Play Video
SEATTLE - One message is clear: Puget Sound residents don't want to see the orphaned orca hanging around West Seattle in permanent captivity. That message was delivered as residents spoke out at a public meeting Monday night.

"It's going to be tragic if she doesn't make it. But rather she dies out in the water in freedom than inside concrete walls," said one Seattle resident.

Beyond that, opinions varied from no involvement to some type of intervention.

"I think if you really care about her, you can't just go out there and shake shaman rattles over her head to make her better," said another Seattle resident.

About 150 people showed up at the old Fauntleroy Public School in West Seattle for the meeting with whale experts. The National Marine Fisheries Service will ultimately decide what to do, if anything for the whale.

Joe Scordino with NMFS says right now, scientists are in a holding pattern watching the whale's health day to day. When she makes a change for the better or worse, they'll make a decision.

One option talked about Monday night is to put her in a sea pen in Puget Sound. There, veterinarians could give her medication and plenty of live fish for food. Then, they could ultimately try to reunite her with her home pod in British Columbia in the summer.

But, it's a costly option. It would take hundreds of thousands of dollars. No agency involved has that kind of money to spend.

"If you need money to get her home -- you saw 'Free Willy' -- just tell us how much and we can deliver it to you," said one woman who works for a whale watching agency.