Russian activists raise alarm about captured whales

Russian activists raise alarm about captured whales

Activists have expressed alarm about more than 100 whales that are being kept in small pools in what environmentalists are calling a "whale prison" off the coast of Russia.

The local court last week agreed to hear the activists' lawsuit seeking to penalise officials who allowed the capture and demanding the animals' release.

Activists first raised the alarm late last year when 90 belugas and 12 orcas were captured and placed in a marine containment facility.

Russian law only allows for the capture of whales for "scientific" or "cultural" purposes.

But activists believe the whales have been captured for sale to foreign amusement parks.

Local animal rights activists say the cramped conditions and low temperatures threaten the whales' lives.

"There are very small chain-link pens, 12 to 15 baby whales are put there and have to be on top of each other," said activist Nina Zyryanova.

"Now it's getting colder every day. Although these animals are native to the Arctic, they must move, hundred kilometres a day, to stay warm."

The marine containment facility in Srednyaya Bay near Vladivostok has been investigated by Russian prosecutors who have already called the capture illegal.

Kirill Parkhomenko, assistant to the Vladivostok environmental prosecutor, said that four Russian companies caught the animals after they obtained a permit from the Federal Fishery Agency.

The prosecutors believe that this permit was obtained illegally because the company cannot prove that it is engaged in any scientific or cultural activities.

Whales are worth a fortune on the black market, and the activists believe that they were captured for sale to amusements parks in China.

The whales are kept at one location but are owned by four separate companies. Company records and court filings, however, indicate that the companies are connected.

In an interview with Russian state TV last year, a representative for the facility rejected reports of poor treatment of the animals.

One of the companies, Bely Kit, unsuccessfully sued the Federal Fishery Agency in 2017 over its refusal to issue it a quota for capturing unidentified marine mammals.

The 2017 ruling shows that Bely Kit had a standing contract with a company in China's northeast and that the company was unable to prove that the whales would be kept in good conditions and used for educational purposes.

The city of Weihai in the Shandong province hosts an ocean amusement park.

Several owners and managers at the four companies have been previously fined for illegal capture of the whales.

More on this topic

Japanese whalers discuss plan to resume commercial huntJapanese whalers discuss plan to resume commercial hunt

Iceland company to resume commercial hunting of fin whalesIceland company to resume commercial hunting of fin whales

Japan to resume whaling in AntarcticJapan to resume whaling in Antarctic

Anti-whaling activists claim victory

More in this Section

 Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak dies aged 91– state media Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak dies aged 91– state media

Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak dies aged 91 – state mediaFormer Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak dies aged 91 – state media

Assange ‘handcuffed and stripped naked on first day of extradition hearing’Assange ‘handcuffed and stripped naked on first day of extradition hearing’

Vietnamese dissident Buddhist monk Thich Quang Do dies aged 91Vietnamese dissident Buddhist monk Thich Quang Do dies aged 91


Lifestyle

Kya deLongchamps advises us to research, plan and keep our heads during online auctionsHow to keep your head during an online auction

Columnist and trained counsellor Fiona Caine offers guidance to a woman who’s growing resentful of her widowed mum’s needy behaviour.Ask a counsellor: My mother is so clingy since losing my dad – what can I do?

Amid all the uncertainty, this year’s London Fashion Week has quietly set about its task of asking how women will dress for the decade ahead, writes Paul McLauchlan.The trends you'll be wearing next season - from London Fashion Week

More From The Irish Examiner