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More than 40 orcas, more than 300 other whales and dolphins, and some 450 sea lions, seals, and walruses have died at Sea World.
It’s time to shut down the whale jails and retire these animals to seaside sanctuaries—preferably near or with whatever true family members they have left.
However, drone footage taken post-capture showed the mammals swimming in tiny sea pens in the freezing waters off Nakhodka, in Russia’s far east.
The images sparked international outrage: conservationists and scientists voiced concern over the mammals’ welfare, and thousands of individuals signed petitions and sent letters to authorities to investigate the so-called “whale jail”.
Updated 6/27/19: Our Russian colleague Oxana Fedorova has given us an update on the plight of the two orcas and six beluga whales who were sent on a long and hazardous journey from where the whales were held in captivity to the site of their capture. After a long transport that would have left the orcas and beluga whales exhausted, confused and traumatized, the people in charge of the operation simply dumped them in the open sea, with no rehabilitation period whatsoever.
Since the so-called release was not videotaped, there is no way of knowing how many of the eight whales were actually released.
“Over the years, I have witnessed and participated in the rehabilitation and release of numerous captive dolphins.
The companies have been fined as the investigation continues.
In the case of the Russian dolphin and whale release that is now taking place, no outsiders are allowed to participate in the transport and release, or even monitor how the mission is carried out.