Off the Pacific coast of Russia close to the southeastern city off Nakhodka, drone footage has captured the sight of over 100 cetaceans, cooped up in some horrifically small enclosures.
An estimated total of 11 orca “killer whales” and 90 beluga whales are being essentially imprisoned, in what people are referring to as a “whale jail,” possibly in violation of the law, but who cares what the law is when you have morals?
This constitutes the largest known number of marine animals to be held in captivity in such a way, as reported by a UK-based wildlife charity called WDC, Whale and Dolphin Conservation.
‘Whale prison’ discovered by drone in Far East Russia pic.twitter.com/gkZBVmYwVp
— RT (@RT_com) November 8, 2018
These whales need to be free, but the actions of the individuals who perpetrated this moral crime aren’t synonymous with all of Russia, although it’s easy for the media to make it sound like this is a Russian problem. The Russian government funded media reported on it as well. Profit was thought to be the motivation for this egregious incarceration of the mammoth sea creatures, as money is so often the motive.
It is believed that the cetaceans were captured and contained to be sold to ocean theme parks in China. These businesses would pay up to $6 million or even more for their own whale, according to reports.
China, the most populous country on the planet, is actually home to over 60 marine parks, and at least 12 more of them are currently being built, as reported by the Telegraph.
Now, this practice of profiting from the capture and sale of whales for entertainment is in fact strictly illegal. However at this point people everywhere should understand legality does not equal morality.
Whales can only be legally captured for educational and scientific reasons, but those reasons are very often just as immoral if not worse than selling the whales to theme parks. Other animals have it worse and become lab monkeys for “scientific reasons.”
It’s international law which bans the activity. Four companies are said to be responsible for the incarceration of these 101 cetaceans, and between them, 13 orcas have been exported to China in three years, between 2013 and 2016, as reported by a local media investigation and investigative newspaper Novaya Gazeta. So Russian, hard investigative media exposed it: props to them.
Companies abuse a loophole in the international law that doesn’t explicitly forbid the “rental” of whales. However, could any “international law” really be the solution to this? Investigative media, hard research coming out of Russia exposed this and did more than the law ever did.
Now, prosecutors are looking into the case to determine whether or not the whales were captured for educational or scientific purposes, as the companies claim.
Worse, the number of orcas and belugas spotted, and the size of enclosures is indicative of infant whales, according to activists. That would be a completely off-limits practice, not even suitable legally for scientific or educational purposes.
“Catching them at this tempo, we risk losing our entire orca population,” Oganes Targulyan, research coordinator for Greenpeace Russia said to the Telegraph. “The capture quota now is 13 animals a year, but no one is taking into account that at least one orca is killed for every one that is caught.”
If you think about it, if the whales are set free, it is not a result of the law but the independent investigation led by Novaya Gazeta.
Novaya Gazeta is to thank for this story reaching the public and something being done about it, and they demonstrated a very important social principle, of how people fall into place and “govern” themselves.