Russia plans to free almost 100 captured whales

Russia plans to free almost 100 captured whales
In this handout photo released by Whale Watching Russia on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2019, Captured marine mammals in a holding facility in Srednyaya Bay, dubbed as 'whale prisons', near the port of Nakhodka, Russian Far East. Russian officials say that nearly 100 illegally captured whales could be returned to the wild during the summer. Russian Natural Resources Minister Dmitry Kobylkin says summer offers the most favorable conditions for release. (Whale Watching Russia via AP)

Russian officials have invited a French ocean explorer to offer advice on how to safely release nearly 100 illegally captured whales, voicing hope that the animals could be let into the wild during summer.

Jean-Michel Cousteau of the Ocean Futures Society arrived Friday in Russia's Far East on a mission to inspect the mammals and help create for them to be released. Cousteau, son of famous oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, has voiced concern about the animals' condition and offered his help to the Russian government.

The ' condition has drawn international concern, and President Vladimir Putin has ordered authorities to investigate the case and release the animals. Russian prosecutors have brought against four companies keeping the whales.

Whales are worth a fortune on the black market, and local environmental activists suspected that they were captured for sale to amusements parks in China. Russian law only allows for the capture of whales for "scientific" purposes.

Regional Gov. Oleg Kozhemyako met with Cousteau in Vladivostok, voicing hope that his experience will help "get a full picture on how to allow the animals to readapt to living in the wild."

Before flying to the Far East, Cousteau met with Russian Natural Resources Minister Dmitry Kobylkin in Moscow on Thursday. Kobylkin said summer offers the most favorable conditions for releasing 97 belugas and orcas.

Russia plans to free almost 100 captured whales
In this handout photo released by Whale Watching Russia on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2019, Captured marine mammals in a holding facility in Srednyaya Bay, dubbed as 'whale prisons', near the port of Nakhodka, Russian Far East. Russian officials say that nearly 100 illegally captured whales could be returned to the wild during the summer. Russian Natural Resources Minister Dmitry Kobylkin says summer offers the most favorable conditions for release. (Whale Watching Russia via AP)

"We couldn't release the animals in the winter, it would have simply killed them," Kobylkin said. "We can and must do this work in the coming summer."

He emphasized that Russia would like to rely on international expertise to ensure the safe release of the mammals.

"We want to do it as openly as possible," Kobylkin added.

Russia plans to free almost 100 captured whales
In this handout photo released by Whale Watching Russia on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2019, Captured marine mammals in a holding facility in Srednyaya Bay, calling as 'whale prisons', near the port of Nakhodka, Russian Far East. Russian officials say that nearly 100 illegally captured whales could be returned to the wild during the summer. Russian Natural Resources Minister Dmitry Kobylkin says summer offers the most favorable conditions for release. (Whale Watching Russia via AP)

Russian scientists estimate that the rehabilitation effort will cost about 300 million rubles (about $4.6 million).

Activists first raised the alarm late last fall when 101 belugas and orcas were captured and placed in a marine containment facility that environmentalists have dubbed a "whale prison" near the far eastern port of Nakhodka.

Local prosecutors have said that several of the mammals have escaped, but environmentalists said four likely died because of cramped conditions and low temperatures.

  • Russia plans to free almost 100 captured whales
    In this handout photo released by Whale Watching Russia on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2019, Captured marine mammals in a holding facility in Srednyaya Bay, dubbed as 'whale prisons', near the port of Nakhodka, Russian Far East. Russian officials say that nearly 100 illegally captured whales could be returned to the wild during the summer. Russian Natural Resources Minister Dmitry Kobylkin says summer offers the most favorable conditions for release. (Whale Watching Russia via AP)
  • Russia plans to free almost 100 captured whales
    In this video grab provided by the RU-RTR Russian television, Jean-Michel Cousteau of the Ocean Futures Society speaks to the media in Vladivostok, Russia, Thursday, April 4, 2019 Russian officials say that nearly 100 illegally captured whales could be returned to the wild during the summer. Cousteau of the Ocean Futures Society arrived Friday, April 5, 2019 in Russia's Far East on a mission to inspect the mammals and help create conditions for them to be released. Cousteau, son of famous oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, has voiced concern about the animals' condition and offered his help to the Russian government. (RU-RTR Russian Television/via AP)

Explore further

Activists sound alarm over Russia's whale trade

© 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Citation: Russia plans to free almost 100 captured whales (2019, April 5) retrieved 13 October 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-04-russia-free-captured-whales.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
11 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more