28 Dec 2018 15:32

Kozhemyako calls for taking into account ability of whales 'arrested' in Primorye to adapt to natural habitat

MOSCOW. Dec 28 (Interfax) -The Primorye authorities are ready to participate in the discussion of the fate of white and killer whales held in captivity in the Srednyaya Bay near Nakhodka, according to Primorye Governor Oleg Kozhemyako.

"There are 87 white whales, 11 killer whales, and six walruses there. We have made an enquiry about their release into natural habitat. Scientists have tentatively told us there are fears about sea mammals younger than one year. It is question whether they can return to natural habitat from their cages without possessing hunting skills," Kozhemyako said at a press conference in Moscow on Friday in response to Interfax's question.

"We will act and participate after we receive a professional answer from scientists. An animal raised in captivity and set free is hardly able to hunt. Any measures should be based on the condition of these animals and their ability to survive and adapt to nature," Kozhemyako said.

Details of the sea mammals' captivity are being probed by investigators, he said.

Presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said earlier the Kremlin was aware of the whale situation illegally caught in the Sea of Okhotsk this year. He described the situation as "outrageous" and said that animal rights activists were sounding the alarm and the animals were being held in captivity for quite a long time.

Peskov said he regretted the absence of any laws regulating the harvesting of such animals and added that the Kremlin was expecting the Primorye governor to help deal with the problem.