11 Jul 2019 18:21

Second group of orcas from 'whale jail' sent to place of release

VLADIVOSTOK. July 11 (Interfax) - A motorcade transporting the next group of orcas from Srednyaya Bay, Primorye Territory, left for the location of their release in the Khabarovsk Territory on Thursday evening, an eyewitness told Interfax.

"Three vehicles carrying containers, escorted by the traffic police, have left," the source said.

The loading of the animals began around 10:00 a.m. and took several hours. Three orcas were moved from enclosures to containers with sea water.

According to earlier reports citing the Russian Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography (VNIRO), the second stage of release of orcas and beluga whales from Srednyaya Bay was due to begin on Thursday. The second group is composed of three animals: one large female, one small female, and a large male.

The orcas will be carried using the previous route: Srednyaya Bay - Khabarovsk - Nikolayevsk-on-Amur-Sea of Okhotsk coast. The animals will be accompanied by experienced trainers, veterinarians, and researchers at all stages.

According to earlier reports, scientists released into the Sea of Okhotsk the first group of orcas and beluga whales who were earlier kept in Srednyaya Bay in the Primorye Territory on June 27. The two orcas and six beluga whales were taken to Khabarovsk by motor transport, where the containers with the animals were then put onto river transport and sent to the Nikolayevsky district of the Khabarovsk territory for re-adaptation.

Twelve orcas and 90 beluga whales were captured in the Sea of Okhotsk in 2018 to be sold to Chinese oceanariums. The animals were placed in enclosures in Srednyaya Bay. The location of their captivity was dubbed the 'whale jail'. An inquiry initiated by the public, the Prosecutor General's Office, and the Russian Investigative Committee revealed that the animals were harvested with numerous violations of law. Criminal and administrative cases were opened.