Russia Begins Releasing Orcas and Belugas From ‘Whale Jail’
Freedom is on the horizon for the 10 orcas and 87 beluga whales who have been held captive for months, some since last summer, in Russia’s Srednyaya Bay.
Last week, the Russian government began moving eight of the 97 cetaceans. All the animals are expected to be returned to the Sea of Okhotsk (approximately 1,100 miles away from the “whale jail”), where they were originally captured.
Progress for Animals
Charles Vinick, executive director of The Whale Sanctuary Project, provided Russian officials with advice from an international team of scientists on the best way to transport the animals without harming them. “While they are not able to follow all of our recommendations, we hope they can follow as many as possible,” he told the BBC.
Russia’s ‘whale prison’ to close after outcry: Russian authorities have decided to free nearly 100 orcas and beluga whales held in cramped pens in Russia’s Far East https://t.co/mnf0qSXV6G pic.twitter.com/oYHmPWrW3D
— Reuters Pictures (@reuterspictures) 8 April 2019
The news comes months after PETA US, The Whale Sanctuary Project, conservationists, directors, and actors urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to rehabilitate and release the animals back into the open ocean. In the summer of 2018, Pamela Anderson joined PETA US by penning a letter to Putin asking that he call off the initial plan to capture these wild animals, saying that this would lead to nothing but misery for them:
“Will you ensure that Russian orcas and beluga whales are protected and halt plans to take them from the Sea of Okhotsk?” she wrote.
According to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Gordeyev, the country hopes to learn from its “whale jail” disaster – the government has plans to tighten the law that allows the capture of cetaceans for “educational and cultural purposes”. The change would mean an end to the Russian commercial trade in cetaceans.
Orcas, Belugas, and Others in Captivity
Orcas, belugas, and other animals don’t belong in captivity. They should never be taken out of their natural habitat, torn apart from their families, and imprisoned in minuscule enclosures.
© Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals
While the right steps are being taken to free the individuals trapped in Russia’s “whale jail”, the animals had to languish there for months and months. Countless animals are imprisoned in places not too dissimilar to the “whale jail”, and we need to put an end to their suffering.
What You Can Do
TUI still sells tickets to SeaWorld, one of the world’s most infamous marine abusement parks, where orcas, other dolphins, and many other animals are desperate for their ocean homes. Ask the travel provider to follow in the footsteps of numerous other companies – including STA Travel and Thomas Cook – and sever ties with SeaWorld:
Read the full story on the PETA US website.