The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
90 Belugas, 11 Orcas Trapped in 'Whale Jail' off Russian Coast
In the video below, a crane lifts a whale into an onshore tank in preparation for transport to an unknown destination.
It's believed that the cetaceans will be sold to Chinese aquariums, despite the fact that it is illegal to capture wild whales except for scientific and educational purposes. Commercial whale hunting has been banned worldwide since 1982.
Killer whales can reportedly fetch up to $6 million at marine parks in China.
Из «китовой тюрьмы» в Приморье вывозят млекопитающих www.youtube.com
Citing Russian newspaper Novaya Gazetta, The Telegraph reported that the four companies that are renting the enclosures exported 13 orcas to China between 2013 and 2016. The companies allegedly involved were given permission to capture 13 orcas in the wild.
A prosecutor is investigating whether the orcas and belugas were actually captured for scientific or educational purposes. The conditions of their confinement as well as the legality of their holding pens are also being examined, The Telegraph said.
"The holding pens … are not very large—I'd say no more than 30 to 40 feet on a side, and probably only about 10 to 20 feet deep," Naomi Rose, a marine mammal scientist at the Animal Welfare Institute, told The Dodo. "If they stay there through the winter, ice can form on the top of the water and they have to break through to breathe."
Greenpeace Russia described the conditions as "torture" and said that capturing the marine mammals could threaten the species' survival.
"Catching them at this tempo, we risk losing our entire orca population," Greenpeace Russia research coordinator Oganes Targulyan said to The Telegraph. "The capture quota now is 13 animals a year, but no one is taking into account that at least one orca is killed for every one that is caught."
The orca population in the nearby Kamchatka region has decreased so drastically that they were listed as endangered this year.
"The trauma and distress these animals experience during captures is not opinion or emotion—it is fact," Rose added to The Dodo. "They suffer intense stress-related reactions and their mortality risk spikes sharply soon after capture and then again after transport—they don't get accustomed to the process. The decimated pods may experience similar stress and trauma—their offspring are being taken from them."
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Many claim that a whole-food, plant-based diet easily meets all the daily nutrient requirements.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released new numbers that show vaping-related lung illnesses are continuing to grow across the country, as the number of fatalities has climbed to 33 and hospitalizations have reached 1,479 cases, according to a CDC update.
A new multiyear study found that people living or working within 2,000 feet, or nearly half a mile, of a hydraulic fracturing (fracking) drill site may be at a heightened risk of exposure to benzene and other toxic chemicals, according to research released Thursday by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE)
The crowd appears to attack a protestor in a video shared on Twitter by ITV journalist Mahatir Pasha. VOA News / Youtube screenshot
Some London commuters had a violent reaction Thursday morning when Extinction Rebellion protestors attempted to disrupt train service during rush hour.
By Kristen Fischer
Though the science has shown sugary drinks are not healthy for children, fruit drinks and similar beverages accounted for more than half of all children's drink sales in 2018, according to a new report.