In December 2013, the Russian company VDNKh Park packed two killer whales into crates at the East end of the country and flew them 10 hours to Moscow to be displayed in an aquarium being built in the city.
More than 10 months later, the five and seven year old orcas are languishing in a temporary holding tank that are only 82 feet in diameter because the aquarium’s orca enclosure is still under construction and isn’t expected to be completed until early 2015. According to the Moscow Times, Russian police have refused to open a case on behalf of the orcas because the tank doesn’t meet the country’s definition of cruelty to animals.
The Russian animal rights group VITA says that guards and customers of a nearby exhibition center have, for months, reported “horrible sounds” and “cries” of killer whales. In spite of substantive evidence and a police report stating that the orcas are being held at this location, the aquarium has denied their presence — until yesterday, when video was released. Now, they are stating that the orcas were held secretly to that Muscovites would be surprised when they arrived at the aquarium.
The Director of the Far East Orca Russia Project (FEROP) says that holding killer whales in these circumstances is “completely abnormal” and that “we have no setting in Russia for keeping killer whales in captivity.” Other experts say that holding orcas captive can shorten their life and make them dangerous, as demonstrated in the documentary film Blackfish.
In light of the fact that an orca enclosure is being built at the new Moscow aquarium, Russia isn’t going to return these animals to their pod in the wild unless the world unites behind these orcas. Please sign the Take Part petition and PETA’s form letter to the Russian Ambassador to the UK asking for the orcas to be released back into the wild.
For the past 44 years, an orca named Lolita has been held captive at the Miami Seaquarium in a 60′ by 80′ pool, the smallest orca enclosure in the United States. For the first ten years of her captivity, Lolita had an orca companion named Hugo. In 1980, Hugo repeatedly smashed his head against the wall until he died. Lolita has been alone for 34 years.
A massive march to free Lolita and return her to her to the wild will take place next to the Seaquarium on January 17th. Please share this information with your friends in Florida.