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Russia plans to release nearly 100 belugas, orcas from icy ‘whale jail’

Srednyaya Bay in Russia had made news in November 2018, when aerial drone images discovered begula whales and orcas kept in captivity in small cramped rectangular pens in the sea.

The initial footages revealed roughly 90 belugas (Delphinapterus leucas) and some 11 killer whales or orcas (Orcinus orca) being held in the enclosures in sea by 4 individual companies. Wildlife activists and conservationists alleged that these companies were illegally holding these creatures imprisoned in inhumane conditions, with the plan to sell them to Chinese aquariums and amusement parks. Bringing relief to all protesting activists and conservationists, the Russian authorities have agreed to release all belugas and orcas to their natural habitat.

Oleg Kozhemyako, Governor of the Primorski region, Jean-Michel Cousteau, President of the nonprofit Ocean Futures Society, and Charles Vinick, Executive-Director of the nonprofit The Whale Sanctuary Project, signed a joint statement agreeing to release on the 8th of April, 2019. The creatures will be monitored till their release.

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