Belugas finally freed from Russian whale jail

Posted by Imogen Searra on 12 November 2019

The last few beluga whales that were captured off the coast of Russia with the intention to sell to China, have been freed.

Last year, social media was abuzz with footage of the now infamous whale jail, which had over 100 whales in its confinement. A petition went viral with over 1,000,000 signatures to free the animals.

If you are unfamiliar with the circumstances, read: Is Russia’s whale jail fact or fiction?

In April this year it was announced that the whales would be released. This was after the declaration to free the animals was signed by Oleg Kozhemyako, governor of Russia’s Primorsky region, where the whales were being held.

On 8 November, 32 whales were released back into the wild. The remaining animals were successfully released on 9 November.

The animals were originally caught to be sold to for entertainment purposes, as this archaic industry is booming in China.

The belugas were transported from the enclosure to the release sight, the Bay of Uspeniya.

The duration of re-freeing the animals started at sunrise and continued into the early afternoon.

Two separate boats were used on 8 November, the first freed 19 belugas and the second boat freed 13 belugas.

The Bay of Uspeniya, according to scientists, is a preferred area for belugas because of the availability of food.

The whales were transported for about 7 hours before reaching the release sight.

On 9 November, all the whales were freed.

Images: Russian Federal Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography

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