Orcas From 'Whale Prison' In Russian Far East To Be Released Into Wild By Fall - Ministry

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Orcas From 'Whale Prison' in Russian Far East to Be Released Into Wild by Fall - Ministry

Orcas will be released from the so-called whale prison in the Russian Far East into the Sea of Okhotsk during the summer-fall season, the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment said on Tuesday

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 18th June, 2019) Orcas will be released from the so-called whale prison in the Russian Far East into the Sea of Okhotsk during the summer-fall season, the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment said on Tuesday.

The statement was made in response to an inquiry by the Russian lower house's environment committee, which had asked the ministry to name a specific time frame for the animals' release and do so taking into account the opinion of scientists. The committee also requested that the marine mammals be tagged with GPS trackers to subsequently monitor their movement.

"A working group on plans for the adaptation/readaptation of marine mammals, established by the FGBNU 'VNIRO' [The Russian Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography], recommended the Sea of Okhotsk as an optimal place to release the marine mammals, and the summer-fall season as the time for their release," the ministry said in the statement, obtained by Sputnik.

The ministry added that the working group also recommended fitting the orcas with satellite tags.

The so-called whale jail in Srednyaya Bay in Russia's Primorsky Territory made headlines in the fall after Greenpeace reported that preparations for selling 13 orcas � which are on the Red List of Threatened Species � to China were underway, while 15 orcas had already been sold to China. A probe was then launched into the illegal fishing of aquatic animals and animal abuse. Russian President Vladimir Putin charged relevant agencies in February to determine the fate of the animals and verify whether they had been caught and kept in captivity legally.

A local court later ruled that the animals had been caught illegally. In May, the authorities of the Primorsky Territory said that the trapped orcas could be released back into the wild within one to two months.

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