Kremlin concerned over fate of orcas captured in Russia’s Far East

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© Yuri Smityuk/TASS

MOSCOW, March 4. /TASS/. The issue concerning orcas and beluga whales captured in Russia’s Far East remains unresolved, and Kremlin expects a report on their condition by Monday evening, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov informed.

On February 22, Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ministry of Agriculture of Russia, together with scientific organizations, to decide the fate of the marine animals before March 1. Last week, the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources announced the creation of a road map on the adaptation of captured animals to their natural habitat. Orcas and beluga whales are included on the list of marine animals with strict annual catch limits. The animals in question were captured with serious violations of age and sex restrictions for their population, the ministry added.

“We are expecting information tonight, at the end of the working day. We have noted that it is already March 4, we have contacted the government, those who curate this issue,” the Kremlin representative stated, adding that “work is underway”. “However, we can still state that there is no result, which is why we are expecting a decision tonight,” Peskov said. He informed that members of the Russian presidential office “have been making inquiries since this morning, taking into account the sensitivity of this topic and the fact that these animals are in a bad condition, there are less and less of them.”

It was reported earlier that 11 orcas illegally caught for sale in China were held in a special retention center near Nakhodka, as well as 90 beluga whales. A criminal case on illegal prey was initiated.

The Russian Ministry of Natural Resources informed on March 1 that they formulated several offers concerning the fate of the animals kept in a “whale prison” near the Russian city of Nakhodka, and will send them to Putin. The ministry representatives noted that “there is no scientific consensus so far” and that there is “no practical experience of release of these animals, especially in such significant amounts.” The officials admitted that the situation concerning the orcas and the beluga whales is “difficult”; however, “everyone understands that the animals must be released from the whale prison.”

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