27 Jun 2019 20:50

Owner of Sochi dolphinarium suspected of poaching bottle-nosed dolphins

SOCHI. June 27 (Interfax) - The owner of a Sochi dolphinarium is charged with poaching bottle-nosed dolphins, which are in the Russian Red Book of Endangered Animals, the press service for the Russian federal Security Service's Border Guard Directorate for the Krasnodar Territory said on Thursday.

"Law enforcement officials found that dolphins were being poached in 2017, the agency said. Operatives found that the dolphins were intended for a Sochi dolphinarium, which was leased by a businessman from the Rostov region for the resort season.

"An inspection of the dolphinarium, in which experts from regional Rosprirodnadzor directorates and veterinarians were involved, yielded three 'illegal' dolphins, two adult species and, according to the dolphinarium director, their baby, a bottle-nosed dolphin. The owner did not have documents confirming his right to keep the animals included in the red Book," the report said.

A criminal case was opened against the owner of one of the Big Sochi dolphinariums for poaching bottle-nosed dolphins.

New details became available and new people were implicated in the case during the investigation, the press service said.

Law enforcement officials believe that genetic tests performed by officials from a relevant Moscow research institute and experts from the veterinary department of the Krasnodar Territory can confirm their involvement in the crime.

"Genetic tests on the sea mammals are being performed in the region for the first time. They will help confirm that the found dolphins are relatives with a high degree of certainty," the press service said.