More than 100 whales – orcas and belugas – are being held in tiny enclosures on Russia’s Pacific Coast in the city of Nakhodka.
This is the largest number of sea creatures to ever be held in small temporary enclosures. Some of them have been there since July.
Marine mammal experts claim that those animals were being sold to Chinese aquariums, despite the fact that legally they are only supposed to be used for scientific and educational work. In China there are thousands of millions of dollars to be made on these whales.
There are currently 11 orcas, 5 baby walrus and 90 baby belugas held in these enclosures.15 of the belugas are yearlings that are completely dependent on the mothers for survival. Yearlings need to be in constant tactile contact with a parent – in case of danger their mother will fight to the death to keep them alive. Capturing whales this young is banned in Russia.
The export of these marine mammals has finally been stopped but the problem now is that these animals are stuck in “whale prison” whilst the authorities try to find the perpetrators and work out the right procedural decision to take. Independent experts are seriously worried that the animals will die if they are kept in these conditions much longer. Whale babies who have not received enough mother’s milk will not survive the winter.
These Orca’s need to be released into their natural habitat. The belugas need to be transferred to responsible people that will feed them, rehabilitate them and release them into their natural habitat when they are ready.