After the announcement that three wild-caught orca whales would not be used for display at the Sochi Olympics, news on the fate of these orca has gone silent. That is, until now. It was recently confirmed that over the past 10 months, two captive orca have been wasting away in two ridiculously small tanks, waiting for the construction of the VDNKh oceanarium. While it is endlessly disappointing to hear that these orca will be transported to an oceanarium, where they will likely live out the rest of their lives, what is worse is the news that the oceanarium is not set to be completed UNTIL 2015. Meaning, these orca will continue to wile away in solitary confinement until then.
The orca being held at the VDNKh exhibition center are a seven-year-old female, Narnia and an unnamed five-year-old male, both of whom were captured from poachers in 2012. According to a report in the St. Petersburg Times, “killer whale cries have been heard for months at the VDNKh exhibition center in northern Moscow.”
What makes this story even more crazy is the fact that the facility denied that they were holding these whales, claiming that the tanks present on the grounds were for “technical purposes only.” We can only imagine what excuse was given to explain away the deafening screeches of two distressed whales.
It was only until the Russian animal rights group, Vita, sent a request for the police to inspect the tanks that the truth came out, confirming that the facility was keeping these whales. Despite the fact that the orca are being held in solitary confinement in tanks that measure 65 meters in length, there is no ground for action against the exhibition center. Effectually, there is “nothing wrong” with keeping orca in these conditions for extended periods of time under Russian law.
“We need a law on the treatment of captive marine animals. Every civilized country has one, but Russia doesn’t,” said Olga Filatova of the Far East Russia Orca Project conservancy.
Knowing all that we do about the mental and social complexity of orca whales, keeping them in these conditions is incredibly cruel and inhumane. The small tanks that Narnia and the other whale are being kept in cause their echolocation to rebound, which can make the whales deaf over time. Between the maddening solitude and deafening sounds of their own cries, how this cannot be considered animal abuse is perplexing – but, where there are no laws to protect these creatures, and what action can be taken?
You can help free these suffering orca by signing this petition through PETA. Share this post to spread the truth about what is being done to these sentient beings and let’s get some action for these two orca!
Image source: Tumblr.com