by Alex Larson →
Just a few months ago, 90 beluga whales and 11 orcas were captured to be sold to marine parks in China.
The 101 mammals where captured by Russian traders in the open ocean over the course of the summer as the business of holding large marine mammals for human entertainment continues to soar across the world.
The marine mammals were captured by Russian traders in the open ocean over the course of the summer. Once captured, the mammals are taken to Srednyaya Bay, near Nakhodka, Rissua where they animal are kept in small pens until the traders secure buyers, where they will then move to China. Although China is currently the only buyer on the market, it was only in 2015 where SeaWorld and the Georgia Aquarium attempted to buy whales from Russia but where denied by federal officials.
Since then, the animals have suffered and their health has drastically declined. Now new photos and video released on the Facebook by Free Russian Whales reveals just how bad of shape the animals are actually in.
Check out the photo and video posted below:
In an excerpt under the video, the organization wrote-
“Once you watch it – it is not possible to unwatch.
This is Kirill – one of the youngest orcas captured in the summer of 2018 in the Sea of Okhotsk in Russia. He is only about 1 year old. He was stolen from his family with another 11 orcas. They are kept in place called “Whale Jail” in Primorsky region in Russia.
One of the orcas disappeared already – captors claim they released it due to aggressive behavior, but it’s more likely that the animal just died. Three baby belugas also disappeared – or “escaped” as captors claim.
Kirill could be next. Latest video from the inspection that took place in January 18-19th showed that his condition is very concerning. Because of very cold winters in Russia and limited space in the seapen that partially covers in ice – Kirill and other orcas have developed frostbite. If something to keep the warm temperature in the enclosures is not done soon – animals most likely will start dying.
Please help us stop this cruelty! These orcas didn’t commit any crime! We have to save them and release them back to their families!
TAKE ACTION NOW! THEIR LIVES ARE IN YOUR HANDS!
Sign the petition and send a letter to the President of Russia! http://freerussianwhales.org/en/help/“
Marine mammal scientists Naomi Rose explained to The Dodo what the capture and imprisonment of the animals does to them, “The trauma and distress these animals experience during captures is not opinion or emotion — it is fact,” Rose added. “They suffer intense stress-related reactions and their mortality risk spikes sharply soon after capture and then again after transport — they don’t get accustomed to the process. The decimated pods may experience similar stress and trauma — their offspring are being taken from them.”
It is actually illegal in Russia to capture and sell marine mammals for commercial purposes but the companies that are conducting the trade have a found a loophole in the law where they claim to be trading the animals for education purposes only, which allows the traders to get the proper permits to capture the animals from the wild.
While animal conservation awareness has grown across the world, many of the marine mammal parks, particularly in China, are not teaching conservation and in fact often harm conservation efforts by participating in this live trade according to Rose.
Rose advocates that to do something about the problem, we need to speak up. It’s also important to not support marine parks that keep whales or dolphins captive, especially if they make them perform.
“Publicize what is happening, as much as possible, on social media,” Rose said. “We need to make the Chinese government embarrassed about their participation in this cruel and unsustainable trade.”