Russia: Fishery institute gives update on release of captive whales

Russian Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography Director Kirill Kolonchin gave an update on the release of the 11 orcas and 87 beluga whales kept in the ‘whale jail’ in Russia’s Far East, in Moscow on Thursday. According to Kolonchin, the relocation operation will help scientists to better understand the marine mammals. “From a research point of view, this is an incredible experience... Еще for both us and our partners that will allow to answer many questions concerning animals’ life both on the wild and in captivity and their migration in our waters,” he said. The operation to relocate the whales was announced on June 20 during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual ‘Direct Line’ show. The first two orcas and six beluga whales were freed on June 28. Kolonchin explained why the first batch of freed whales were transported by truck and then boat to their natural habitat in the Sea of Okhotsk. “Due to the fact that storm conditions were severe, the only sensible decision was made to transport the animals to Khabarovsk by trucks in special containers,” he said. The whole relocation process of the 11 orcas and 87 beluga whales will reportedly take approximately four months. The whales are believed to have been captured in the Sea of Okhotsk in 2018 and taken to cages in the Srednyaya Bay near the city of Nakhodka.

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