Almost 100 beluga whales and orcas being illegally held captive in Russia will soon be released back into their natural habitat.
Keeping animals captive is an act that currently has a lot of people split. More and more people are starting to believe that establishments such as zoos and safari parks are cruel. That animals should be left in their natural habitats as nature intended. The other side of that coin is many animals are kept in captivity for their own good, and there are some species which would have since become extinct if it were not for the kindness of humans.
Whichever side of the argument you fall on, we are pretty certain that everyone will have been disgusted at the footage of captive whales that went viral last year. In November, a drone in far east Russia captured footage of more than 100 beluga and killer whales being held in what has since been dubbed a "whale jail."
‘Whale prison’ discovered by drone in Far East Russia pic.twitter.com/gkZBVmYwVp— RT (@RT_com) November 8, 2018
It was revealed that four companies had captured the whales, 90 belugas and 11 orcas, and planned to sell them on the black market to aquariums in China. Thankfully, the discovery has led to those plans being scuppered and Russian authorities have finally confirmed that the 97 whales will soon be released from their extremely cramped enclosures, reports Mongabay. The companies have claimed a few of the whales have escaped, but it is assumed that they likely died.
This good news comes following tireless work from three parties including the governor of the region in which the whales are being kept and heads of two separate whale charities. You might be asking yourselves why it has taken so long to get this done. Well, the aforementioned governor, Oleg Kozhemyako pointed out that had the whales been released during the winter, most of them would have likely died.
Since the whales have been kept in terrible conditions for months and most of them appear to be incredibly young, many of them will not merely be left to fend for themselves. Any whales that seem to have poor health or won't fare well in the wild by themselves just yet will be taken in and nursed back to health. We hope the release of the healthy whales is streamed online as we would love to see that feel-good moment.