Readers who follow our page will remember the heartbreaking story we shared this past November via Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) in the U.K. regarding the news that drone footage from Russia’s Pacific Coast suggesting that 11 orcas and up to 90 beluga whales had been captured and were being held in cramped holding pens near the port city of Nakhodka in a bay on the Sea of Japan.
At that time the WDC reported that ”the orcas and belugas may have been captured for sale to Chinese aquariums, despite the fact that permits for capture are only issued for scientific and educational reasons.”1
And at the time, CBS News reported that some of the animals have been held since July. According to the news site, orcas were sold to Chinese theme parks for as much as $6 million each. 2
The U.K. news site, The Telegraph quoted a research coordinator for Greenpeace Russia as saying:
“Catching them at this tempo, we risk losing our entire Orca population. The capture quota now is 13 animals a year, but no one is taking into account that at least one Orca is killed for every one that is caught.”3
According to The Telegraph , “the ‘whale prison’ has been fenced off and closely guarded from outsiders. When animal rights activist Nina Zyryanova tried to take photographs of it on Saturday, security personnel grabbed her camera and stole the memory card from it, she complained to police.”
Posted by Masha Netrebenko on Tuesday, November 6, 2018
In a bit of good news, WDC reported that Russian authorities made several arrests following an illegal whale trafficking scandal that involved captured orcas that had been sold for display in China and similarly permitted as being for scientific and educational reasons.1
One of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation group’s long term goals is to create a wild sea sanctuary where whale and dolphin rescued from captive environments can be cared for in a more natural, non-tank, environment or slowly coached to re-learn survival skills and finally be released in the wild.
Now, 4 months later, we have some more good news to report–progress is being made!
After months of negotiations, environmental organizations, along with well-known celebrity environmental activists like Leonardo DiCaprio and Pamela Anderson, Dmitry Kobylkin, Russia’s ecology minister, told the TASS news agency that: “We are doing everything we can. No one objects to releasing the orcas, but the most important thing is to release them properly.”
“And, a spokesperson for the president revealed he was concerned by the companies’ actions, and wanted to free the whales, the Independent reports.”
Please sign this petition and join me in speaking out against the inhumane capture of orcas and belugas in Russia. https://t.co/OED9zJ9fnz
— Leonardo DiCaprio (@LeoDiCaprio) February 26, 2019
1) Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC). Orcas And Belugas Held In Russian ‘Whale Prison.’ 6 November 2018.
2) Gove E. More than 100 animals trapped in “whale jail” off Russia’s coast. CBS News. 7 November 2018.
3) Luhn A. ‘Torture’ of Russian ‘whale jail’ as 100 Orcas and Belugas captured in Pacific bay. The Telegraph. 5 November 2018.
Russia orders all orcas and belugas kept in ‘whale prison’ be set free, The Independent, March 2019
Science Alert, Illegal ‘Whale Jail’ Has Been Spotted in Russia, Lifting The Lid on a Massive Animal Exploitation Industry, 13 November 2018.
Facebook post: Masha Netrebenko
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