Scientists To Keep Orcas, Belugas In Russia's 'Whale Jail' For 3-4 Months - Official
Faizan Hashmi Published March 12, 2019 | 06:18 PM
Captive orcas and belugas will remain in crowded enclosures in Srednyaya Bay in Russia's Far East for three or four more months and scientists will investigate the aquatic animals' condition, Director of the Russian Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography (VNIRO) Kirill Kolonchin said on Tuesday
Currently, some 100 belugas and orcas are awaiting rescue from tiny enclosures on Russia's Pacific coast, according to data from Greenpeace. Images of the trapped aquatic animals made headlines in November 2018 after local authorities discovered the so-called "whale jail," and later launched a probe into the operators of the facility, the Center for adaptation of marine mammals.
"Today the scientists concluded that the earliest time when it is possible to transport or move [the cetaceans] to another place is June-July. That is three or four months," Kolonchin told reporters at a briefing at the Federal Agency for Fishery.
According to Kolonchin, there is a high probability that within ten days the scientists will conclude that the Srednyaya Bay, which is located some 46 miles from the city of Vladivostok on Russia's Pacific coast, is more suitable for the cetaceans than other places, including near-by Russky Island.
The petition on Change.org platform, calling for the release of the aquatic mammals into the wild, has gathered over 1.2 million signatures in several months.
The sea mammals' capture and imprisonment may violate Russian laws. In late February, President Vladimir Putin ordered a swift investigation into the matter. Later the case was picked by the Presidential Control Directorate that oversees federal laws and other presidential decisions.
Earlier in March, French ocean explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau, who is the son of legendary ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, expressed his intention to visit the bay and help return captive orcas and belugas to the wild.