Experts Call for the Speedy Release of Killer Whales and Beluga Whales from the “Whale Prison” in Primorye

November 29, 2018

Experts believe that the killer whales and beluga whales kept in the bay of Central Primorsky Territory for sale in foreign aquariums should be released as soon as possible, otherwise they will die.

“Delay in releasing killer whales into the wild and in transferring the beluga whales to the rehabilitation regime, and the lack of public and expert control can lead to grave consequences for cetaceans. This is the general opinion of the experts, ”Dmitry Lisitsyn, head of the regional public organization (RPO) Sakhalin Environmental Watch, told Interfax-Far East.

According to him, the longer they sit in crowded conditions and in tight containers, the greater the likelihood of deterioration of their health from stagnant water, poor diet and stress.

  1. Lisitsyn stressed that according to the unanimous opinion of experts, killer whales should be released from the bay as soon as possible.

“They will still be able to find their families who have already left the area of ​​the Shantar Islands and are now migrating to the Kuril Islands and then to the more southern areas of the ocean,” he said.

He added that for belugas it is necessary to create an expert commission of scientists specializing in cetaceans, veterinarians of the aquarium, microbiologists, as well as divers and underwater operators.

“It is necessary to conduct a comprehensive survey of the white whales and clearly separate – who can be released now (who can survive in the wild conditions – IF) and those who need to be grown and adapted. The information gathered by the expert group should be provided to an even wider expert community “in order to make a common and most correct decision,” said D. Lisitsyn.

According to him, Medium Bay is quite suitable for adapting babies to belingas, since these conditions, in contrast to the aquarium, are more close to their natural habitat. As the kids grow, they could gradually expand open-air cages, launch wild fish, imitating hunting conditions, in order to release animals into the sea in the spring adapted to independent living. But according to scientists, other people should take care of belugas, but not trappers.

As reported, at the end of October, Greenpeace Russia and the Sakhalin Environmental Watch public organization stated that 11 killer whales and 90 belugas were illegally kept in the enclosures of Srednyaya Bay in the south of Primorsky Krai. According to zoodefenders, belugas and killer whales were brought to Primorye before being sold to foreign aquariums and zoos. SC initiated a criminal case under Part 3 of Art. 256 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (illegal extraction of aquatic biological resources). On instructions from the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation, specialists from the Pacific Oceanological Institute are examining animals to determine if they can be released into the wild.

Source: Maritime News of Russia

Article Found on Maritime


November 24, 2018

The court seized on the orcas and belugas caught for sale in China The court in Vladivostok seized 11 orcas and belugas ‘ 90, discovered the animal in Nakhodka. Animal rights activists suggest that animals were caught for sale in China. The investigative Committee opened a criminal case on illegal fishing. About the arrest of the animals informed the city the site of Vladivostok and non-profit organization “marine mammal Council”. Judgement was delivered on 21 November, but became aware of it today from the letter to the Investigative Committee to Rosprirodnadzor. At the end of October it became known that in the Middle Bay in a remote area Finds contains 11 orcas and 90 Beluga whales caught in Russian waters. According to Russian Greenpeace, pet owners planned to sell them in Chinese aquariums. Commercial exploitation of dolphins is prohibited in Russia by law, but the animals were caught in the cultural and educational quota. The price of one orca in dolphinariums and aquariums China reaches from one to 15 million dollars. Catch animals has caused an outcry among environmentalists. November 16, the Investigative Committee opened a criminal case on illegal catch of whales and belugas. According to authorities, the mammals are young, and their prey is prohibited. On Thursday, the press service of the Agency, the Agency issuing quotas for the catch of marine animals, said that the Ministry warned the General Prosecutor’s office about the inadmissibility of violation of the law when granting rights to catch cultural and educational purposes. The Agency said in response that all quotas are issued legally.

Сообщение The court seized on the orcas and belugas caught for sale in China появились сначала на Latin script’s.


100 Orcas and Whales Are Trapped in ‘Whale Jails’

November 22, 2018

An estimated 11 orcas and up to 90 belugas are currently being held in what’s being dubbed as a ‘whale jail.‘ According to media reports, prosecutors are now investigating a site near the city of Nakhodka, where dozens of orcas and belugas have been confined to small enclosures to determine whether they’re being kept illegally.

According to the Telegraph, which cited local media, it’s the largest number of whales to ever be held in small temporary enclosure, while some of them have been there since July.

Now, an international group of marine scientists are calling on Russia to stop capturing orcas from the wild. Even though permits for capture are only issued for scientific or educational reasons in Russia, activists have raised concerns they’re really being captured for commercial purposes and being sold to marine parks in China for entertainment. Unfortunately, the industry in China is growing, which has increased the demand for them. Capturing orcas is big business – Orcas can reportedly be sold for up to $6 million, while belugas are worth thousands.

Sadly, according to the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), 13 orca captures will be allowed this year, while the number doesn’t include any who are injured or killed during the process.

In response, 25 marine mammal biologists from around the world are urging the Russian Federal Service for Overseeing Natural Resources to stop captures of wild orcas.

They argue that not only are these captures highly stressful for individuals involved, but they also damage complex social structures and are putting the future survival of orca populations at risk. To see how damaging removing even just a few individuals can be, we just need to look at the Southern Resident Killer Whales who have yet to recover from captures that took place decades ago off the coast of Washington.

“These whales are being captured before Russian authorities complete an environmental assessment to determine whether such actions are sustainable,” said Dr. Naomi Rose, a marine mammal scientist for AWI. “Aside from poor management practice, captures are without a doubt traumatic and harmful to the whales taken and the family members they leave behind. The science is in on this, but Russian authorities are ignoring it.”

We can never undo the injustices that captive orcas and other cetaceans have been subjected to, but we can certainly create a future where we respect them and protect them in their rightful place in the wild. Considering what we’ve learned about cetaceans, it’s heartbreaking to think about the impact this industry has had on them. Putting them in captivity can destroy family bonds, cause premature death or injuries and inflict psychological harm – all for nothing more than our curiosity and amusement.

Unfortunately, this trade won’t stop until public interest is gone and it’s no longer profitable, which makes avoiding facilities that hold them captive critical.


Russia to ban capture of killer whales and belugas in 2019

November 20, 2018

The catching of killer whales and belugas will be prohibited in Russia in 2019, a report prepared by the state ecological expertise of the Far Eastern department of the Russian Federal Agency for Supervision of the Use of Natural Resource (Rosprirodnadzor) said.

The news about 90 belugas and 13 orcas being kept in a “whale prison” in Srednaya Bay near Nakhodka, in the Far East of Russia, generated an international scandal. It was reported that the animals had been caught to be subsequently sold to sea aquariums in China. A criminal case was initiated, while many people arrange protest actions throughout the country, including in Vladivostok, demanding the capture of marine mammals should be banned.

In Vladivostok, as many as 30 people gathered for a meeting to protest against the capture of killer whales and belugas. The activists believe that holding marine mammals in captivity in sea aquariums should be banned throughout the world. This problem is not limited to the situation with the “whale prison” in Russia’s Far East, because many people buy tickets to go to oceanariums and turn a blind eye to the problem, the activists say.

According to the investigators, the inspection of the so-called “whale prison” in Srednaya Bay revealed that fishing companies had no relevant documents for catching belugas and killer whales.   Specialists also found that eleven killer whales and 90 belugas did not reach sexual maturity, while 13 of them were younger than 12 months. Their capture is a serious violation of the Russian law, therefore a criminal case has already been initiated.


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Orca ‘killer whale’ surfaces off Phuket

October 9, 2017

Orca Whale spotted in the seas off Phuket | The Thaiger

PHUKET: A leading marine life specialist has called on people to not panic after a large orca, or “killer whale”, was spotted off Phuket’s west coast yesterday (Oct 8).

The news broke when Facebook user “Phairot Kong” posted a photo credited to Peerayut Boonchom as well as a video showing the killer whale surfacing alongside what appears to be a fishing boat.

In response, Dr Thon Thamrongnawasawat, a marine activist who serves as the Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Fishery at Kasetsart University in Bangkok and as an official advisor to the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR), noted that orcas have been sighted around Thailand for at least 20 years.

Orca males generally grow to six to eight metres long and weigh three to four tons. They usually stay in groups of five to six,” Dr Thon explained in a Facebook post yesterday.

“Many people misunderstand and think that these whales are found only at the poles, but orcas are actually found around the world, including in the tropics,” he wrote.

This was not the first time orcas have been sighted off Phuket, Dr Thon added.

“There have been several sightings around Phuket in the past three to four years. The last orca spotted off Phuket was only last year,” he wrote.

“Do not panic or be frightened by these animals. They do not attack humans. Just be happy that orcas are in Thailand and that they visit Phuket from time to time,” Dr Thon advised.

Source: The Phuket

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Orca ‘apocalypse’: half of killer whales doomed to die from pollution

September 27, 2018

At least half of the world’s killer whale populations are doomed to extinction due to toxic and persistent pollution of the oceans, according to a major new study.

Although the poisonous chemicals, PCBs, have been banned for decades, they are still leaking into the seas. They become concentrated up the food chain; as a result, killer whales, the top predators, are the most contaminated animals on the planet. Worse, their fat-rich milk passes on very high doses to their newborn calves.

PCB concentrations found in killer whales can be 100 times safe levels and severely damage reproductive organs, cause cancer and damage the immune system. The new research analysed the prospects for killer whale populations over the next century and found those offshore from industrialised nations could vanish as soon as 30-50 years.

Among those most at risk are the UK’s last pod, where a recent death revealed one of the highest PCB levels ever recorded. Others off Gibraltar, Japan and Brazil and in the north-east Pacific are also in great danger. Killer whales are one of the most widespread mammals on earth but have already been lost in the North Sea, around Spain and many other places.

“It is like a killer whale apocalypse,” said Paul Jepson at the Zoological Society of London, part of the international research team behind the new study. “Even in a pristine condition they are very slow to reproduce.” Healthy killer whales take 20 years to reach peak sexual maturity and 18 months to gestate a calf.

PCBs were used around the world since the 1930s in electrical components, plastics and paints but their toxicity has been known for 50 years. They were banned by nations in the 1970s and 1980s but 80% of the 1m tonnes produced have yet to be destroyed and are still leaking into the seas from landfills and other sources.

The international Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants came into force in 2004 to tackle the issue, but Jepson said the clean-up is way behind schedule. “I think the Stockholm Convention is failing,” he said. “The only area where I am optimistic is the US. They alone produced 50% of all PCBs, but they have been getting PCB levels down consistently for decades. All we have done in Europe is ban them and then hope they go away.”

The researchers said PCBs are just one pollutant found in killer whales, with “a long list of additional known and as yet unmeasured contaminants present”. Further problems for killer whales include the loss of key prey species such as tuna and sharks to overfishing and also growing underwater noise pollution.

The new research, published in the journal Science, examined PCB contamination in 351 killer whales, the largest analysis yet. The scientists then took existing data on how PCBs affect calf survival and immune systems in whales and used this to model how populations will fare in the future. “Populations of Japan, Brazil, Northeast Pacific, Strait of Gibraltar, and the United Kingdom are all tending toward complete collapse,” they concluded.

Lucy Babey, deputy director at conservation group Orca, said: “Our abysmal failures to control chemical pollution ending up in our oceans has caused a killer whale catastrophe on an epic scale. It is essential that requirements to dispose safely of PCBs under the Stockholm Convention are made legally binding at the next meeting in May 2019 to help stop this scandal.” Scientists have previously found “extraordinary” levels of toxic pollution even in the 10km-deep Mariana trench in the Pacific Ocean.

“This new study is a global red alert on the state of our oceans,” said Jennifer Lonsdale, chair of the Wildlife and Countryside Link’s whales group. “If the UK government wants its [proposed] Environment Act to be world-leading, it must set ambitious targets on PCB disposal and protect against further chemical pollution of our waters.”

The research shows that killer whale populations in the high north, off Norway, Iceland, Canada and the Faroes, are far less contaminated due to their distance from major PCB sources. ”The only thing that gives me hope about killer whales in the longer term is, yes, we are going to lose populations all over the industrialised areas, but there are populations that are doing reasonably well in the Arctic,” said Jepson.

If a global clean-up, which would take decades, can be achieved, these populations could eventually repopulate empty regions, he said, noting that killer whales are very intelligent, have strong family bonds and hunt in packs. “It is an incredibly adaptive species – they have been able to [live] from the Arctic to the Antarctic and everywhere in between.”

He praised the billion-dollar “superfund” clean-ups in the US, such as in the Hudson River and Puget Sound, where the polluter has paid most of the costs: “The US is going way beyond the Stockholm Convention because they know how toxic PCBs are.”

Source: The

Killer whale ‘Orca’ spotted for first time in Pakistan (VIDEO)

November 20, 2017

To the surprise of marine life experts, a gigantic killer whale was sighted off Churna Island in the Arabian Sea, ARY News reported on Monday.

Fishermen recorded footage of the whale, which is also known as Orca, some kilometers away from Churna. WWF-Pakistan has confirmed sighting of the mammal animal.

Killer whale is the largest member of Dolphin family and it is an apex predator which means that it preys on other animals but no animal preys on it.

While killer whales are generally not considered a threat to human, but they have reportedly killed and injured some people.

Earlier, an independent observer spotted a whale shark, 10 nautical miles from Karachi Harbour. The number of whale sharks has plummeted by 50 percent over the last 75 years in the world.

Visit the source at Daily to view the VIDEO of the encounter

Killer Whales seen off Iran

June 12, 2017

DOE Confirms Orca Sightings Off Bushehr Coasts

An official at the Department of Environment has confirmed reports circulating online that orcas have been sighted off the coasts of Bushehr Province.

Speaking at a press conference on Sunday, Davoud Mirshekar, director of the Marine Ecosystems Office at DOE, said the presence of orcas (also known as killer whales) in the Persian Gulf is not unusual.

“This species was seen near the UAE a couple of weeks ago and then somewhere between (the Iranian islands of) Kish and Hendurabi,” the official was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency. Mirshekar noted that orcas have ventured into Iranian waters before but sightings were never reported.

 “Their presence here is not strange at all. They’re here to feed,” he added.

The most widely distributed mammal, orcas have been documented foraging in shallow coastal waters.

In Iran, they are known by their less appealing name of killer whale, which sparked concerns among some people when the sightings were first reported.

“They pose no threats to humans,” Mirshekar said. “Their varied diet—from fish to seals—has garnered them the name of killer whale.”

The environment official said orcas are among the most intelligent animals on the planet, which is why they have historically had good relations with humans.

“There have only been a couple of reports of orcas attacking humans and they all happened when the animals were being held in captivity,” he said. Killer whales are commonly found swimming in the cold waters of Antarctic Peninsula, but a type known as Type B killer whales have been found to venture into the warmer waters of the tropics, such as the Persian Gulf, to help regenerate skin tissue.

They have been known to swim as far north as the states of Florida and Hawaii in the United States, so their sighting in the Persian Gulf—while infrequent—is not unusual.

Source: Financial

Killer whales caught on camera during rare sighting off South Kona

May 15, 2017

Boaters off the south Kona Coast got a rare, close-up look at a pod of killer whales this weekend.

It happened on Saturday, May 13, at around 2 p.m.

Cory McCord, a captain with Fair Wind Cruises, was wrapping up a snorkeling cruise about two miles off Hookena Beach Park when he spotted the killer whales splashing in the distance.

“I knew exactly what they were almost immediately. I grew up in Seattle and grew up around orcas and seen them often. They’re pretty much unlike any other marine mammal we have out here,” McCord said. “I went over the intercom and told everyone to get their cameras out, because this is something I’ve never seen out here. I’ve worked out on the water for almost 10 years now, and I’ve never seen them. I heard of them being down here this time of year, but never actually got to see them with my own eyes.”

McCord says he picked up speed to travel alongside them while keeping a safe distance away.

“They were absolutely flying for how big they are. We got to be with them for a good five or six miles. They were heading south toward the southern tip of the island,” he said.

McCord says all 40 people and four crew members on board “got some pretty cool shots of them. Everybody on board saw them. Like I said we hung out with them for about 40 or 45 minutes. It was awesome.”


Killer whale sighted in Puerto Galera

April 23, 2017

The sighting of a killer whale in Puerto Galera, a town in Oriental Mindoro and a popular tourist destination in Luzon, has caught the attention of marine wildlife-conservation advocates.

The fascinating marine mammal, about 7 meters long, was photographed and posted on Facebook (FB) through the account of Kai Tagaki, who first thought it was a dolphin jumping up and down.

Posted on April 18, at 12:38 p.m., the FB post was shared 383 times as of this writing and drew various reactions.

One FB comment expressed fear that it might attack humans. Another comment said the sighting is a good sign—and that the health of the marine ecosystem is improving.

Except for the photo, not much information was provided in the FB. Director Theresa Mundita S. Lim of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said the report needs to be verified, although she said the killer whale could have been following its prey and found itself in that part of the Philippine waters.

She said it might have other companions, because killer whales are known to travel in groups during migration and while hunting preys.

“It may be after a prey and somehow got lost. But they usually hunt in group,” said Lim, who cautioned fishermen against hunting it down.

The largest among dolphin species, killer whales feed on almost anything they can find—including tuna, dolphins, sharks and even whale sharks. But it has no record of attack on humans.

The Philippines is a member of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, which include marine wildlife like sea turtles, dolphins, sharks and whales.

The Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines (MWWP), a non-governmental organization that advocates marine-wildlife conservation and their habitat in the Philippines, shared the post.

The group monitors illegal fishing or hunting of threatened marine wildlife, particularly those on the critically endangered list of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

AA Yaptinchay, executive director of MWWP, said sightings of orca, or killer whale, is not new in the Philippines. While saying that a killer whale having been photographed is very rare, their sightings is not new.

“There are records of sightings of orca before. It is the most cosmopolitan among all whales,” he said. Orcas, or killer whales, belong to the dolphin family, he said.

Yaptinchay said unless they are captured or harmed, killer whales do not attack humans.

“There is no record of them eating humans,” he said.

He said it is not in orca’s nature to feed on human, although it feasts large fish species and preys almost on anything it can feed on—including deadly sharks.

Yaptinchay said the sightings of the killer whale should be a wake-up call to concerned government agencies to intensify monitoring of Philippine seas.

“Only 30 percent of our seas have been surveyed so far,” he said.

The group said conducting surveys will reveal how rich the Philippine seas is, and what we stand to lose in failing to protect our marine areas against destructive human activities.

Hunting of marine wildlife, he said, remains unchecked despite local and international laws prohibiting such acts of terrorism against these amazing creatures of the sea.

Source: Business