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Finally! Operation begins to release ‘whale jail’ inmates, announced on Putin’s TV hotline

By Olga Gertcyk
20 June 2019

Mammals were being readied for sale to aquariums in China, but now are to return to wild after public campaign.

An announcement of the release came during President Vladimir Putin’s annual Direct Line televised question and answer session Thursday. Picture: VL.ru

Two orcas and 6 white whales are the first to be transported from Srednyaya Bay, Primorsky region,  to the village of Innokentyevka in the Khabarovsk region, for release.

They are expected to face a two day road drive before being permitted to swim free. 

A public campaign is seen as being behind the freeing of dozens of seal mammals. 

Olga Armyakova

'All the country united to save the orcas and white whales, but there were no serious movements. Until today! It is, of course, a curious coincidence.' Picture: OTR

Some 90 beluga whales and 11 orcas or killer whales were ‘imprisoned’ in conditions which were strongly criticised by animal groups and the public. 

An announcement of the release came during President Vladimir Putin’s annual Direct Line televised question and answer session Thursday. 

The operation was being organised by Russian Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography (VNIRO) .

Putin said: 'Thank God the movement has begun.’

He appeared to express dismay over the time has taken, as well as the cost.

Beluga whale loaded into the truck


Beluga whale loaded into the truck


Beluga whale loaded into the truck


Beluga whale loaded into the truck

Activists spotted the unusual activity in the 'whale jail' since early morning, later it became clear that the animals are loaded in the trucks. Pictures: Artyom Trembovlev, OTR

‘The orcas alone, as I understand, (cost) around 100 million dollars.

‘Therefore, there are a lot of interested people. 

‘Thank God, the movement has begun. 

‘Wherever is big money there are always some complications with solving problems.’

Vladimir Putin

‘Wherever is big money there are always some complications with solving problems.’ Picture: OTR

Direct Line TV reporter Olga Armyakova said with Putin listening: 'I recall that the president ordered a decision on (the whales) fate by 1 March.

‘Since then expert commissions have gathered, scientists from the Cousteau team, all the country united to save the orcas and white whales, but there were no serious movements. 

‘Until today! It is, of course, a curious coincidence. 

‘Or in other words - the miraculous effect of Direct Line!'

Belugas


Belugas


Whale jail in Nakhodka


Whale jail in Nakhodka

'I recall that the president ordered a decision on (the whales) fate by 1 March.' Pictures: VL.ru

Earlier a source has told TASS: ‘Two orcas were taken away. 

‘Possibly, they will be brought to the sea mammals base in the village of Innokentyevka in Khabarovsk region from where they will be released to the Bay of Sakhalin. 

‘Their transportation to the base will take approximately two days.’

Some activists expressed criticisms of the way the whales are being transported. 

But the move follows recommendations Jean-Michel Cousteau's international expert team, and a team of 70 handlers, scientists, vets and maintenance personnel were accompanying the first phase of the the operation to return the whales to the wild. 

The French environmentalist in his 80s had earlier said: ‘We are hopeful the Russian government will work to release the orcas and belugas back to the ocean where they belong, but the task of doing so is daunting. 

‘We are pleased to offer our expertise to this effort in any way that can be useful to the Russian government and scientific community.’

Animal rights campaigner Nina Zyryanova complained the mammals were being moved in 'rusty coffin baths’.

A public campaign is seen as being behind the freeing of dozens of seal mammals.

Whale jail in Nakhodka


Whale jail in Nakhodka


Whale jail in Nakhodka


Whale jail in Nakhodka


Whale jail in Nakhodka


Whale jail in Nakhodka

Comments (3)

Where is the western media that is so quick to condemn Putin and Russia? They 100% will not report all the good that is done by both.
donovan, United States
17/07/2019 01:07
2
0
So glad to see that Russia is letting those animals go back to the sea.
billy ing, norwood, USA
25/06/2019 05:10
2
0
Thank you for sharing this update and I hope that all of the Beluga whales and Orcas are successfully released back into their natural marine habitat (a safe distance apart from each other). I look forward to the next update and thank you in advance for any further information you are able to report.
Pamela K Tetarenko, United States
24/06/2019 02:41
2
0
1

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