May 25, 2019
Latest News

Russia coming under pressure to release mammals from so-called whale jail

Moscow, Mar 14 (efe-epa).- A holding center for cetaceans in far east Russia, which environmentalist group Greenpeace has dubbed the largest whale jail in the world, was a growing thorn in the side for Russian president Vladimir Putin, who has always presented himself as a champion of animal rights.

After almost six months of incessant criticism, inaction from officials and the death of several whales, Putin finally ordered officials to find a solution to the situation at the marine center, located near the Pacific Coast city of Nakhodka.

"Putin didn't say the whales should be freed, only that a solution to the problem should be found," Oganes Targulyan, Greenpeace Russia research coordinator told EFE Thursday.

Activists have raised concerns for the livelihood of 87 beluga whales, 11 orcas and five young walruses held in cramped conditions at the center.

Pressure groups say the animals were captured in the wild for later sale to Chinese aquariums for millions of dollars per animal.

Celebrities such as Hollywood actor Leonardo Di Caprio, who has met with Putin previously to petition conservation efforts for the endangered Siberian tiger, have called on people to sign a petition to close the so-called whale jail.

The issue brought about further public outrage in recent weeks when Greenpeace published images showing orcas and belugas suffering from rashes, lesions and boils that experts have attributed to viral, bacterial and fungal infections.

Tatyana Denisenko, a Russian microbiologist who has examined the highly-intelligent mammals, said the symptoms demonstrated the whales' immune system had dropped due to the stress of being captured at sea and later languishing in inadequate captive conditions.

Icy conditions at the center and the lack of space for the whales to keep warm has brought on cases of hypothermia, she added, speaking to the Russian press.

The businesses in charge of the holding pens said one orca, also known as a killer whale, and three belugas had managed to escape the cages, although Greenpeace believes these animals have actually died due to the inhumane conditions.

According to Russian press, a government commission has requested that the whales be categorized into two groups: one that will be released and another that will be transferred to scientific research centers.

For Targulyan that was not enough.

"Some of the cetaceans need to be cured and the rest freed, but not all of a sudden. It's better to wait until the end of April when the temperatures rise," he said.

He said that in the meantime independent veterinarians should take over the care of the whales given that the people currently in charge – who work for businesses that have already heavily invested in their venture capturing, transporting and feeding the animals – hoped to accustom the wild animals to human interaction, which would make their re-wilding impossible.

Dmitri Glazov, from the Russian Academy of Sciences, told EFE that he warned Putin three years ago about the uninhibited capture of whales but did not receive a response.

Russia was the only country where it is legal to capture killer whales for commercial purposes, although the practice can only, in theory, be carried out for scientific research.

"If there wasn't demand from China, there would be no supply from Russia," he said.

Glazov said there were dozens of marine parks along China's border with Russia, although Russia also sold the animals to India, Vietnam, Thailand, and Pakistan.

The beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas), which can be found in Arctic waters, is common in captivity across the world, famed for its white coloring and smiling face.

Meanwhile, the orca (Orcinus orca), is extremely widespread in the wild, where they are an apex predator, but are also popular at aqua parks.

By Ignacio Ortega

News history
Kenya's High Court upholds law criminalizing same-sex relations

Nairobi, May 24 (efe-epa).- Kenya's High Court on Friday declined to decriminalize same-sex relations, which can carry a prison sentence of up to 14 years,...

Global climate change school strikes hit record number

Stockholm, May 24 (efe-epa).- Thousands of schoolchildren around the world walked out of their classrooms on Friday in what organizers say were the biggest...

Senior cleric among three killed in Kabul mosque explosion

Kabul, May 24 (efe-epa).- A bomb blast inside a mosque in the Afghan capital on Friday killed three people, including a prominent religious scholar who was...

Ethnic minorities represented for 1st time in Thai parliament with Hmong MP

By Carlos Sardiña Galache

Filipino natives forced out of their ancestral lands by Chinese capital

By Sara Gómez Armas

Taiwan holds Asia's first same-sex marriages

Taipei, May 24 (efe-epa).- Around 20 same-sex couples on Friday registered their marriage officially at the Household Registration Office in Taipei, the...

US hospital ship to assist 11 countries in response to Venezuelan crisis

Miami, USA, May 23 (efe-epa).- A United States Navy hospital ship will provide medical assistance to 11 Latin American and Caribbean countries in response...

Voice of female Mesaharati calls out in Cairo each dawn of Ramadan

By Carles Grau Sivera

Botswana lifts elephant hunting ban

Johannesburg, May 23 (efe-epa).- Botswana, the country with the largest population of elephants in the world, has lifted a ban on hunting these animals...

Thousands of Jews celebrate Lag BaOmer festival with music, bonfires

Mount Meron, Israel, May 22 (efe-epa).- With songs, dances and bonfires nearly half a million Jews on Wednesday marked the celebration of Lag BaOmer on...

Massive seaweed influx in Cancun's hotel zone

Cancun, Mexico, May 22 (efe-epa).- The hotel zone along the beaches in the Mexican resort city of Cancun on Wednesday experienced a massive influx of...

Geneva, May 22 (efe-epa).- Venezuela's health minister said here Wednesday that economic sanctions imposed by Washington are to blame for shortages of...

Remains of Jewish Holocaust victims reburied in Belarus

Brest (Belarus), May 22 (efe-epa).- Human remains believed to have belonged to 1,214 Jewish victims of the Holocaust were reburied in a cemetery in...

WHO to reduce snakebite mortality rate, health crisis, by half with new plan

By Clea House

Afghan amputee boy dreams a better future by becoming a doctor

Baber Khan Sahel

Lack of diverse global diet takes toll on biodiversity

By Belén Delgado

Internal review reveals sexual assault cases in New Zealand parliament

Sydney, Australia, May 22 (efe-epa).- The New Zealand parliament on Wednesday admitted that at least three cases of serious sexual assault had taken place...

Hundreds protest against anti-abortion laws at US Supreme Court

Washington, May 21 (efe-epa).- Hundreds of people gathered Tuesday in front of the US Supreme Court to protest against the laws passed this year banning...

Plastic waste being made into ecologically friendly houses in western Mexico

By Mariana Gonzalez

Mexican scientist works to find mysterious fish using DNA

By Zoilo Carrillo

Brazil's Candomble religion battles rising intolerance

By Maria Angalica Troncoso

Dr. AI comes to aid of China’s ailing healthcare

By Paula Escalada Medrano

Abortion remains a stigma for South Korean women despite decriminalization

By Andres Sanchez Braun

Australian voters turned their backs on the threat of climate change

By Rocío Otoya

I agree Welcome to news4europe.eu. We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.