May 24, 2019
Latest News
Entertainment

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
"Black Mirror" creator Charlie Brooker: Show is not anti-technology

London, May 24 (efe-epa).- Charlie Brooker, the creator of "Black Mirror," told Efe on Friday that the series is not anti-technology and his explorations...

What will happen to Cuba's anti-imperialist grandstand at US Embassy?

By Lorena Canto

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

By Carles Grau Sivera

Taiwan to legalize gay marriage on 24 May

Taipei, May 17 (efe-epa).- Gay couples will begin to register for legal marriage in Taiwan on Friday, after it became the first Asian country to recognize...

Indian artist Nalini Malani wins Joan Miró prize

Barcelona, May 23 (EFE).- Indian artist Nalini Malani has won the seventh edition of the Joan Miró Prize, an international award that comes with a...

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...

Author of beloved children’s classic “The Tiger Who Came to Tea” dies at 95

London, May 23 (efe-epa).- Judith Kerr, the writer and illustrator behind the classic children’s book “The Tiger Who Came to Tea” has died at the age of 95,...

Journalism in digital age must rethink how to reach its audience

By Gina Baldivieso

Craft-making on the decline in southern Mexico due to lack of pupils

By Mitzi Mayauel Fuentes Gomez

Garcia Bernal's latest directorial effort examines root causes of violence

Marta Garde

Israeli scientists brew beer using 5,000-year-old yeast

Jerusalem, May 22 (efe-epa).- Israeli scientists have brewed beer with ancient yeasts that were discovered in 5,000-year-old pottery.

Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood Photocall - 72nd Cannes Film Festival

Cannes, France, May 22 (efe-epa).- Quentin Tarantino said Wednesday that he is obsessed with the story of American cult leader Charles Manson at the...

Kenyan writer, LGBT activist Wainaina dies

Nairobi, May 22 (efe-epa).- Kenyan writer and famous LGBT activist Binyavanga Wainaina died in a hospital in Nairobi after suffering from a stroke, his...

Star Wars Canyon: where enthusiasts go to watch fighter pilots practice

By Ivan Mejia

Beekeeping organization in Israel aims to protect bees, promote practice

Yossi Aud has been housing bees in his back yard and teaching people about keeping the insects in a bid to help save them from extinction.

UK's Prince Charles and Camilla visit Ireland

Dublin, May 21 (efe-epa).- Britain’s Prince Charles and his wife Camilla were given a "warm and friendly welcome" to Ireland.

Victoria: an exploration of the UK queen to mark 200th birth anniversary

London, May 21 (efe-epa).- The United Kingdom's Queen Victoria often evokes images of a stern-looking monarch dressed in head-to-toe black, but a new show...

Italian airline Alitalia cancels more than 280 flights due to strike

Rome, May 21 (efe-epa).- Italian airline Alitalia has canceled more than 280 flights on Tuesday amid a national 24-hour strike called by air sector unions.

Austrian Formula 1 legend Niki Lauda dies at 70

Vienna, May 21 (efe-epa).- Three-times Formula One world champion, racing team manager and airline businessman Niki Lauda has died at the age of 70, his...

Austrian Formula 1 legend Niki Lauda dies at 70

Vienna, May 21 (efe-epa).- Three-time Formula One champion and businessman, Austrian Niki Lauda, has passed away at the age of 70, his family announced...

Watching "Aladdin" as a boy, Mena Massoud saw himself reflected on the screen

By David Villafranca

Alain Delon presents his memories at Cannes but avoids controversy

By Alicia Garcia de Francisco

Chile to be main country at Berlinale European Film Market 2020

Cannes, France, May 19 (efe-epa).- Chile will be the featured country at the Berlinale European Film Market 2020, which will allow it to prepare its own...

Chelsea Flower Show features garden by Duchess of Cambridge

London, May 19 (efe-epa).- Green-fingered exhibitors are gearing up for this year’s Chelsea Flower Show in London, which will feature a garden designed by...

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