Moscow, Sept (SF) .- World organizations have begun to worry due to the stagnation of the return to the oceans of some 100 whales that remained in captivity 1,300 kilometers south of the Russian city of Ojotsk.
In January of this year the environmental NGO Greenpeace reported that some of the whales showed skin lesions and fin damage, allegedly caused by colliding with the sea ice of the small pens in which even 75 of them are “prisoners”.
Wild whales swim tens of kilometers every day, and that keeps them warm, but in small pens they cool.
Although Russia allows the capture of whales for scientific purposes, experts fear that these cetaceans (11 killer whales -orcas- and 87 belugas) were going to be destined for theme parks or aquariums in China.
The first open sea release occurred on June 20 and happened after the international clamor of environmental organizations, scientists and personalities from around the world.
Actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who has long been fighting for animal rights, asked his fans, through his social networks, to sign a petition for the Russian government to release the 100 whales he had held in captivity since 2018.
“Please sign this petition and join me to demand actions against the inhuman capture of killer whales and beluga in Russia,” DiCaprio wrote on social networks.
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
Thus, Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to intervene a few days after the actor shared the petition online.
“Killer whales, as far as I know, have a value of around US $ 100 million. (…) When there is a lot of money, problems are always difficult to solve, but thank God, things have begun to move. This operation will take about four months, “said the Russian president.
However, practically beginning the month of October, only about twenty of the whales have been released and Greenpeace Russia has expressed concern because, at the pace of the “release”, it will not be possible for the remaining 75 to swim freely in the oceans before winter storms, which are expected for November.
The NGO has asked the Minister of Defense to make available to the parcel a larger ship of the Russian Navy “that can collect several dozen whales from the Srednaya Bay and take them to the Okhotsk Sea.”
However, they assure that there are no indications that the Ministry will do something about it and that, on the contrary, they circulate again reports of plans to send some belugas to marine entertainment parks in China, so that they do not spend another winter in cages and with great chances of dying.
Earlier this September, the companies that caught the whales were fined for breaking the fishing rules. One of them, White Whale, received a fine of about 28 million rubles (US $ 433,000).