27 Apr 2019 21:52

Greenpeace Russia calls for swift release of "whale jail" belugas

MOSCOW. April 26 (Interfax) - Delaying the release of beluga whales held in the Srednyaya Bay off Primorsky would be wrong, the animals should be released before the weather gets too hot, Greenpeace Russia said.

"Some specialists have opined that, on the contrary, the animals might not get through the summer. The water will get hot, the microorganisms will start breeding faster. Also, water circulation in the Srednyaya Bay is not very great. All this creates conditions for the skin diseases, which may affect beluga whales, leading to their illnesses," Greenpeace Russia's head of research Oganes Targulyan told Interfax on Friday.

Unlike orcas, beluga whales are more used to lower temperatures, he said. If the animals continue being held in the "whale jail," they might get too hot. "They too should be released, without waiting for the heat. The animals could become ill," Targulyan said.

He also said that the orcas should be released where they were caught.

"We have doubts that it would be right to release orcas in Srednyaya Bay because scientists have said before that it was better to move them to where they were caught because this is where their forage is and where they can reunite with families," Targulyan said.

Natural Resources Minister Dmitry Kobylkin said earlier that the sea mammals' release would be considered separately, beluga whales will be released in three groups in separate locations which had yet to be determined. He also said that in the event of no release plan, the animals might have to stay for another winter in the bay.

As for orcas, Kobylkin said that scientists suggested that the animals might not need to be moved anywhere from the bay but released right there.