Over 100,000 people sign petition to prohibit catching whales in Russia
VLADIVOSTOK, December 24. /TASS/. A petition to prohibit catching dolphins and whales for cultural and educational purposes gathered more than 100,000 signatories on the Russian Public Initiative website and is now to be considered by an expert group of a federal level, TASS reports.
According to roi.ru, a website designed to gather popular initiatives and submit them to the Russian parliament, the petition was signed by 100,154 people.
«At 17:24 Moscow time on December 23, 2019, we changed history - today, the petition on roi.ru to prohibit catching of whales for cultural and educational purposes has gathered the required 100,000 votes,» a coalition of non-governmental organizations, headlined ‘Freedom to beluga whales and orcas,’ said on its official page on Russia’s VKontakte social network.
«The whale jail story can rightfully be viewed as the biggest campaign to defend animals in Russia, and all of you are a part of this campaign,» activists said.
Earlier, environmental activists reported that 125,000 signatories were gathered by two other petitions to ban the capture of beluga whales and orcas for oceanariums in order to avoid a recurrence of the Primorsky Region’s recent «whale jail» scandal. The Greenpeace Russia petition got over 76,000 signatories, while the document on the Change.org platform got over 49,000 signatories.
Ninety beluga whales and 11 orcas caught for sale to China had been kept in the Primorsky Region’s Srednyaya Bay, since the summer of 2018, but later three beluga whales and one orca got lost. According to investigators, during the whales’ capture, violations were detected and a criminal case on the illegal seizure of bioresources was launched.
In June, the gradual transportation of the marine mammals to the north of the Khabarovsk Region began for their release into the wild in groups. The first batch, consisting of two orcas and six beluga whales, was released into the sea on June 27. The last group of animals was released off the Primorsky Region in November 2019.