Last month, we reported on a fresh wave of orca-hunting that took place in Russia’s Sea of Okhotsk over the past few months. It is believed that the majority of these creatures – seven orcas were caught in total – will end up in Chinese aquariums and amusement parks, confined to tiny concrete tanks for the rest of their lives.
And now, there is unfortunately even more sad news for all you whale lovers out there. Despite the fact that orcas are inherently unsuited for captivity, the Digital Journal reports that a dolphinarium in Sochi, Russia (the host city for the 2014 Winter Olympics) is planning to display two freshly caught orcas in an effort to boost profits from the Games.
This is only the latest in a long line of environmental and animal abuses perpetrated by Russian authorities, as outlined clearly by the Digital Journal’s Elizabeth Batt:
From pollution to declining biodiversity, Russia’s reliance on energy is as ardent as its environmental interests are limited. Basically, if the country can exploit its environment for profit, it will do so. Russia currently leads the way in wild beluga whale captures. According to Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), Russia’s annual quota for the capture and export of these white whales tops 1,000 animals per year.
Batt further states that Russia has exported over 100 belugas to China in the past decade alone, and that it is planning to use a wild-caught Black Sea bottle nose dolphin as a torchbearer for the Olympic Games opening ceremony.
This dolphin species is listed as “endangered” on the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species – with ongoing capture efforts cited as a major cause for their decline.
The IUCN also says, “[T]here has been ongoing degradation of the Black Sea environment overall (including bottle nose dolphin habitat) and decline in many of its indigenous animal populations (including bottle nose dolphin prey) from the 1970s to the present, with a likely peak in the devastation caused by overfishing and habitat deterioration in the late 1980s-early 1990s. These processes, taken together, have led to severe declines in prey populations.”
Given the abuse that has already been meted out to the animals of the Black Sea, the Olympic organizers’ decision to imprison two more wild orcas for the sake of profit is a another slap in the face to all those who care about the well-being of these dignified, intelligent and highly self-aware creatures.
Express your outrage by signing this online petition to keep these orcas out of the show and out of captivity.
Image Source: Thomas Hubauer / Flickr