The news just in, March 21, 2019, after months of investigation into why nearly 100 orcas where held captive in a freezing prison, Russian authorities, orders to release the whales. Environmental activists have been fighting for months to get the whales released while garnering attention to the public and celebrities, including President Vladimir Putin, who ordered to investigate and release the whales. The investigation took months but the ruling court, the Sakhalin Regional Court in Russia rejected the appeal against the decision to declare illegal the conclusions of the state environmental commission that approved the capturing of said whales, therefore, becomes final and enforceable: the court has ruled the Orcas were caught illegally.
The whales, a mix of 12 orcas and 90 beluga whales, with 12 to 15 of them being babies, were held in very small chain-link pens in the southeastern part of Russia in Srednyaya Bay near the Sea of Japan port town of Nakhodka. Although after investigating, it appeared to Russian authorities that at least three of the belugas have escaped their frozen prison.
A change.org petition to release the whales stated this is the "largest number of sea creatures to ever be held in small temporary enclosures." The petition has had over one million signatures calling for the Russian government to release the whales.
Four companies, who have previously faced fines for illegal capture and have a long history of selling animals for amusement to parks in other countries, have been charged for violating fishing laws. Of course, as per usual, a spokesman for said companies issued a statement denying allegations of poor treatment of the whales. Officials do not yet know when the whales are to be released from their icy "whale jails".
Following a worldwide ban on commercial whale hunting in 1982, it is illegal to capture whales expect for "scientific" and educational purposes. The whales were rumored to be captured for sale to Chinese amusement parks which may bring in up to $6 million for the whales. The US had stopped catching wild orcas since the 1970s due to negative publicity. China relies on Russian exports to support most of its parks and aquariums for profit.
The Creature Getup would like to thank the Sea Shepherd Ambassador Pamela Anderson for reaching out to Vladimir Putin on behalf of the captive Orcas, Belugas, and walruses. All of the wonderful people who signed the petition on change.org calling to release the whales. We must give a quick thank you to President Putin for taking action on behalf of the cetacean prisoners and Leonardo DiCaprio for his continuing efforts to help change the world for the better.
Now that the whales are free to go, we can now work to have the State confiscate and release the whales back into their natural environment where they belong.