Friday 01 February 2019 | 24

Winter has fallen on the whale prison

Winter fell suddenly on this whale prison. A grey ice field now encloses the floating pens of the 11 orcas and 87 beluga whales locked in Srednyaya Bay, on the borders of the Russian Far East. We must act urgently before the cold kills them all!

Hr blog

In the shadow of a shed, the orca Cyril floats quietly, his snout stuck to the net that encloses him. Alexandra and Vitas, his fellow companions in misfortune, come and go, very agitated. He does not stir anymore, raised only by their movements in the water. Little by little, frost covers his body bruised by ropes and infections. His breath is slow, almost inaudible. This very young male will probably not survive the pneumonia that troubles him.

Furthermore, the beluga whales fare better in their open-air crates drifting from large ice cubes. Swimming under the ice is one of their talents. But the noise of the workers breaking the ice with shovels and the passing of paying visitors who caress them without washing their hands, inflicts an incessant stress on them.

These terrible images that have circulated the world, we owe this to the obstinacy of a handful of Russian activists. After endless trials, they finally got a delegation of scientists and veterinarians to inspect the detainees of the Marine Mammal Adaptation Centre, the official and pompous name of this "Whale Prison".

Everyone had known since September that when the ice freezes the bay, cetaceans would be in danger of death. Plans that were easy to implement had been proposed without success. It would have been possible to take this small world to the open ocean in huge rectangular nets pulled gently by tugs. The Russian fleet was ready to cooperate and Vladimir Putin himself was worried about this tragic situation.

But we are in Russia, where the very slow bureaucracy escapes neither pressure nor bribes. While the capture of these unfortunate cetaceans has been declared illegal by the Attorney General of Russia and their export banned in April 2018, the local authorities seem not to care and continue to protect the 4 commercial companies,’ the owners of these captives.

Today, nine Russian orcas are already performing to the sound of a whistle in front of the stands of the Chimelong Ocean Kingdom in Zhuhai, near Macao. More than 200 belugas, traded for Taiji dolphins, have died one after the other in the overheated waters of Japanese and Chinese dolphinariums. What will become of the detainees in Srednyaya Bay? There is so much money at stake! If they do not go to China, everything leads us to believe that they will end up like Narnia, the first orca captured in 2012: to finish in the hell of Russian dolphinariums!

We cannot let this massacre unfold without reacting. We cannot accept that Russia continues to sell these unfortunate cetaceans. One Voice urges you to sign the petition online or write directly to Vladimir Putin via the Free Russian Whales campaign website! We must save these orcas and belugas from this whale prison!

Yvon Godefroid
Hr blog

In the subject

Ode to Orcas: young people speak out for the release of captive orcas
"Imprisoning animals is cruel, whether it’s tigers or orcas"

Comments 24

I accept that publication of my comments is subject to the code of conduct.

Michyoune | Tuesday 12 February 2019

Immonde!!! Abominable!!!
Quand l homme va t il admettre qu'il n'a pas tous les droits??

Audrey | Monday 11 February 2019

Comment des etres dits humains peuvent-ils infliger de tels traitements abominables à des etres vivants qui ne sont bien qu’en liberté ? C’est honteux et scandaleux ! Quand les animaux non humains seront-ils respectés comme il se doit ?

CD | Friday 08 February 2019

Quelle inhumanité ! ! ! c est réellement consternant

ISABELLE | Friday 08 February 2019

Que peut on faire?