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Even with “Blackfish” and orca freedom movements gaining international ground, all the information available illustrating why orcas do not belong in captivity seems to be falling on deaf ears in Russia.

According to the Mirror, hunters have officially captured two wild orcas that will be kept in a “small concrete tank following a 4,614-mile flight” from Russia’s far east. The aim is to have these two orcas on display at the Sochi Dolphinarium just in time for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, which will begin on February 7.

“It’s a sad day for Russia, a sad thing for the Olympics and a very sad situation for two orcas who now will be flying across seven time zones to spend the rest of their lives in captivity,” a spokesperson for Whale and Dolphin Conservation said via the Mirror.

This capture comes just a few months after seven other wild orcas were brought into captivity from Russia’s Sea of Okhotsk. Like the new orca pair, these seven are set to live the remainder of their lives in concrete pools far from their wild homes where they once swam up to 100 miles a day.

Russia’s decision is not just a blatant disregard for marine mammal protection and the 89,813 signers of this petition urging Sochi not to display orcas. It is also a huge slap in the face to what the Olympics truly stand for.

The Olympic games showcase the brilliant and wondrous feats the human body can accomplish, but in capturing orcas, Russia has turned this celebration and competition on its head by taking away these very same brilliant and wondrous feats from another species.

What’s more, forcing orcas to lock away their natural behaviors just so a little extra cash can be made is far cry from the “moral beauty” Pierre de Coubertin remarked that the Olympic games motto, Citius, Altius, Fortius (Faster, Higher, Stronger), embodies.

There is nothing beautiful in taking away another species’ freedom. And there has never been anything moral about it either.

UPDATE (01/17/14):

We spoke with Whale and Dolphin Conservation Program and Campaigns Manager Courtney Vail for clarification on the status of the two orcas slated to be on display during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Here’s what we found out:

  • The two orcas were captured at two separate times by a consortium of companies known as White Sphere, an operation associated with the Sochi Dolphinarium and other similar facilities.
  • A young female orca named Narnia was captured in August 2012 in Russia’s Sea of Okhotsk, while the other orca, reportedly a young male, was captured in September 2013.
  • In November 2013, both Narina and the young male orca were shipped to Moscow, with the intention of later shipment to a local facility in Sochi in time for an Olympic display.
  • The two orcas have since remained in Moscow and, according to Vail, there is still no concrete verification available on their well-being and their specific holding location.

UPDATE (01/28/14):

  • According to Olga Filatova of the Far East Russia Orca Project, Narina and the young male orca are currently being held at the All-Russian Exhibition Center in Moscow, however they are not on display yet as the dolphinarium they may be transported to is still being constructed. It is still unknown if the orcas will be on display in Sochi during the Olympics.

UPDATE (2/5/214):

Image source: Mlewan / Wikipedia Commons

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141 comments on “Two Orcas Captured by Hunters for 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics”

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Debra Lessard
3 Years Ago

They don\'t ever listen. They are so arrogant. Yep arrogant alcoholics . Russians live on Vodka. They are a nation of drunks Hell the Russian rebels were DRUNK when they sot down the airliner. You can\'t reason with Russian men. They are fools. They care about being violent. being Macho(UGH) PUTIN was KGB. He doesn\'t have an empathetic bone in his body. He tortured and murdered people for the KGB. Oh goodie I want him for a leader. He has a lot in common with Stalin. Russia Get your act together. You are a disgrace. You are destroying the Artic and killing whales and dolphins. Acting like the stupid fools I always thought you were. Russia you suck. Starting wars. Didn\'t you learn from Bush what that causes. Oh No you had to be a big shot didn\'t you. WellI believe you are a idiot. Stupid and powerful. On the world stage taking people\'s rights away. You are a pig. A man with a short mans complex. Until Russia agrees to go along conservation I want nothing to do with them. Please No more Russian Visa for now. Not until he shapes up and gets on board with the rest of the world. PIG. Ukraine is not yours.

15 Dec 2014

Well said. Russia is the evilest thing in the world now, along the Ebola and ISIS. I am from Ukraine and I think we will get further in many fields, including animal right issues. I really want and hope this war will end soon and all our territories will be in peace.

Cat Monkeywoman
3 Years Ago

They still need saving. Please sign the petition here:

4 Years Ago

That's it... I believe that NBC and the Russians have decided whether or not the Olympics get watched in our house. Yeah, I know. Big Deal! But it's three people that won't get "ADDED" to the "COUNT" of people watching. Most people won't care that the Russians captured two Orcas to be put on display. I do as does my wife and son. IT STARTS WITH US! It is also something that the Olympic Committee as well as NBC can do something about. As of now I haven't heard if they've said anything to the Russians. Thanks but no thanks! NBC and the Russians can go &^*# themselves!

Bill Morten
4 Years Ago

Although I love Russia and Russians, they seem to be challenged on so many social and humanitarian issues these days. These captured and imprisoned orcas are a prime example in addition to impeding gay rights and the persecution of Pussy Riot. I guess it is a byproduct of living with Soviet socialism for 70 years while the rest of the free world grew and evolved.

sue martineau
4 Years Ago

I thought the Olympics were about sport, not commercialism , greed and torture to animals

Wes Ornick
4 Years Ago

I am forwarding this to Ocean preservation etc and Ric O'Barry -- used to train Flipper and director of "the cove"...man :( sad day...

Mats Andersson
4 Years Ago

What the fuck are they doing? What's wrong with animals natural environment?

Linda Wark
4 Years Ago

Boycott the Olympics Facebook page link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Punish-Russia-Boycott-the-Olympics/340119669442851

4 Years Ago

This is freaking unbelievable. I can only express my feelings by what I buy and what I watch. I will not be watching even one minute of these Olympics, and I will not spend one cent with any of the companies that are sponsoring this debacle. Shame shame shame.

Carol Carnes
21 Jan 2014

Anyone wanting to sign the petition, it's in the middle of the article. and it's highlighted. just look for and sign it in a hurry. This is outrageous and I won't be watching the Olympics Shame on Russia.

4 Years Ago

where is the petition to stop this?

17 Jan 2014

Don't wait for anyone to start it, start one yourself, and people will sign it!

Cat Monkeywoman
26 Sep 2014

I just made one. Please sign and share!!

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