Skip to content
All news
  • All news
  • About whales & dolphins
  • Corporates
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Green Whale
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Scottish Dolphin Centre
  • Stop whaling
  • Stranding
  • Whale watching

Iceland to monitor whale hunt cruelty

Following our call for an investigation into violations of the Icelandic Whaling and Animal Welfare...
Beluga whales in the wild

Beluga whale in River Seine dies after rescue attempt

A beluga whale that became trapped in the River Seine in France has sadly had...
Tilikum, the father of Nakai. © Paul Wigmore

Orca Nakai dies at SeaWorld San Diego

SeaWorld San Diego has announced the death of the orca Nakai. The 20-year-old male orca...
Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin © Mike Bossley/WDC

Last captive Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin to be freed in South Korea

Bibongi, the last Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin held in captivity in South Korea, is to be...

Russia to give orcas greater protection

According to reports, Viktoria Abramchenko, the Deputy Prime Minister in Russia responsible for environmental affairs, has announced that transient orcas are going to be added to the country’s Red Data Book of endangered species.

In recent years, Russia has allowed a number of orcas to be captured for sale to the captivity industry. The whales were shipped to facilities both in Russia itself and overseas, most notably China.

This culminated in an international outcry in 2018-19 after images and film footage were released of 11 orcas and 90 beluga whales being held in what became known as the infamous “whale jail". After enormous pressure, the whales were eventually released back into the wild. Early reports indicate that at least some of them have survived but it will take time to determine whether they will be able to reintegrate into their pods.

Orcas in far east Russia.

While many countries already prohibit the capture of orcas, Russia had become the main source for the growing captivity industry in China. Between 2012-2017, more than 20 transient orcas had been removed from the western Okhotsk Sea.

The effort to get the transients on the Red Data Book stems in part from WDC-funded work through the Far East Russia Orca Project (FEROP). Initially, FEROP researchers wrote papers published in Russian and English establishing that the orca, or killer whale, in Russian waters is made up of two distinct ecotypes, the resident fish-eaters and the transient marine-mammal eaters, which are genetically separate populations or breeding units. Russian researchers worked together to get the transient orcas into the Red Book within the Kamchatka region. Now, as a result of the outcry over “whale jail” within Russia, the verbal announcement has been given for them to go into the national Red Book for Russia, which gives much greater protection from capture and other threats

"We are waiting for the transient orcas to formally be entered into the Russian Red Book — that's the next step," says WDC Research Fellow Erich Hoyt. "That will give them more protection from being captured again for Chinese or Russian marine zoos and aquariums."

Please support our work

Help our continuing efforts to protect these amazing creatures. Thank you.

[shariff]

Keep in touch on Social Media

About George Berry

George is a member of WDC's Communications team and website coordinator.

1 Comment

  1. Brian Abbott on 2nd April 2020 at 4:02 pm

    I note the tweet about Bowheads. Its a pity we cannot stop Alaska killing 50 Bowheads every year

Leave a Comment