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Infamous whale jail dismantled – could a capture ban be next?

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A Russian facility used to house captured whales in cramped conditions has finally been dismantled, hopefully putting an end to anymore cruel activities at the site. 

Dubbed the ‘whale jail’ after an international outcry, the floating pens in Srednyaya bay in Far East Russia were emptied of whales in late 2019 following public criticism from groups including WDC that led to President Vladimir Putin intervening. All the surviving whales were returned to the sea.

Reports from Russia now state that the jail’s structure had been moved to a shipyard ‘in a condition that excludes the possibility of their use for their intended purpose.’

In a further development, President Putin announced that a complete ban on captures for entertainment maybe about to come into force when he spoke at a meeting of the Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights this week.  This was backed up by the head of the Ministry of Natural Resources, Alexander Kozlov, who said that the department supports the initiative to ban captures and that it is simply impossible to provide acceptable conditions for keeping whales and dolphins in captivity.

The 11 orcas and 87 belugas were initially captured and placed into the collection of small sea pens in waters near Nakhodka in 2018, with the intention to sell them onto to Chinese marine park entertainment facilities.

In the summer of 2019 the Russian company behind the ‘whale jail’ was fined 28.1 million roubles ($433,000; £430,000). The experiment should never have been allowed to happen and the dismantling of the site will hopefully mean it will never be allowed to happen again.

WDC is working to establish sanctuaries for whales held in captivity – read more.

 

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