March 18, 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
Predicting the arrival of cherry blossoms challenges Japanese meteorologists

Nora Olive

Faced with Christchurch terror, New Zealand draws on Maori strength

Rocio Otoya

New Zealand police believe Christchurch was a lone wolf attack

Christchurch, New Zealand, Mar 18 (efe-epa).- New Zealand's police chief confirmed Monday that they believe that the perpetrator of a deadly attack on two...

Scientists in Antarctica studying carbon cycle, the key to climate change

Santiago, Mar 17 (efe-epa).- Chilean and Spanish scientists have set up a monitoring device on the Antarctic Peninsula with the aim of measuring the annual...

Morocco sees pope’s upcoming visit as way to build bridges with Islam

Rabat, Mar 17 (efe-epa).- Pope Francis’ upcoming two-day visit to Morocco is aimed at promoting dialogue with the Muslim world and reaching out to the...

Christchurch terror attack death toll rises to 50

Christchurch, New Zealand, Mar 17 (efe-epa).- The death toll of last Friday's terror attack on two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch has risen...

Expert: Chile must end firewood culture to lower pollution levels

Santiago, Mar 16 (efe-epa).-The use of firewood for cooking and heating in south-central Chile is a deeply rooted practice and also the reason why several...

Trump vetoes bill rejecting his border emergency declaration

Washington, Mar 15 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump signed this Friday his veto of the resolution passed by both houses of the US Congress rejecting his...

Brazilian authorities question 3rd suspect in school shooting

Sao Paulo, Mar 15 (epa-efe).- A 17-year-old classmate of one of the two people who carried out a massacre at a high school in suburban Sao Paulo was...

Bolivian activist: Women in traditional garb are not ornaments

La Paz, Mar 15 (efe-epa).- Worker, union organizer, broadcaster, blogger and YouTuber Yola Mamani is speaking out for Bolivia's "cholas," women of mixed...

Beekeeping, a path to empowerment for rural Colombian women

By Santiago Jose Sanchez

UN Environment Assembly reaches agreement on pollution but more work needed

Nairobi, Mar 15 (efe-epa).- The Fourth United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-4) held in the Kenyan capital has reached a provisional general agreement...

Spain sets date for exhumation of late dictator Franco, reburial next to wife

Madrid, Mar 15 (efe-epa).- Spain has set a date for the exhumation of late dictator Gen. Francisco Franco, thus potentially ending decades of controversy...

School students across Europe skip class to protest climate change inaction

Stockholm, Mar 15 (efe-epa).- Hundreds of thousands of school students across Europe on Friday eschewed class to take part in massive international...

Prostitution grows in China fronted by hair salons, karaoke bars

Beijing, Mar 15 (efe-epa).- In China, prostitution has continued to thrive behind the facade of hair salons and karaoke bars despite a government ban and...

Thousands of students in Australia protest against climate change

Sydney, Australia, Mar 15 (efe-epa).- Thousands of school students skipped class on Friday to take to the streets in about 60 cities across Australia to...

Hong Kong students join global strike against climate change

Hong Kong, China, Mar 15 (efe-epa).- Hundreds of students from Hong Kong on Friday joined the global strike against climate change and to demand concrete...

US Congress blocks Trump's border emergency declaration

Washington, Mar 14 (efe-epa).- The Senate on Thursday passed a resolution that blocks President Donald Trump's emergency declaration at the United States'...

Cuba: No acoustic attacks on US, Canadian diplomatic personnel

Havana, Mar 14 (efe-epa).- Cuba's government on Thursday presented the results of its investigation into the unusual health symptoms that led dozens of...

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...

Stark, cryptic tombstone marks late Argentine dictator's final resting place

Buenos Aires, Mar 14 (efe-epa).- Underneath a stark, flowerless tombstone that bears only the cryptic words "Ababo Yalan" at a cemetery on the outskirts of...

Green rush grips Thailand after medical cannabis legalization

Kunanon Kanjanatecha and Gaspar Ruiz-Canela

Japanese women mobilize online against having to wear high heels to work

Tokyo, Mar 14 (efe-epa).- A social media campaign against employers forcing women to wear high heels to work has been picking up pace in Japan, drawing...

Chile to nominate island for World Heritage Site

Santiago, Mar 13 (efe-epa).- The Chilean government is intending to nominate the island of Madre de Dios before the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural...

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