VLADIVOSTOK, October 2. /TASS/. Experts of the Russian Research Institute for Fishery and Oceanography (VNIRO) have released 14 beluga whales that had been previously kept in Srednyaya Bay in the Primorsky Region, VNIRO reported on Wednesday.
"On October 2, the scientific team, experts and the crew of VNIRO’s research vessel Vladimir Safonov successfully completed the operation to release sea mammals from Srednyaya Bay as part of the scientific program and readaptation and return to the environment. Fourteen beluga whales were released to the Sea of Okhotsk in the Sakhalin Gulf area," the report says.
The animals felt normal during the trip, and there was no heavy rolling during the transportation. The release was successful. The plans of further work under the program of readaptation and release of marine mammals to the environment will be determined regarding the analysis of the travel and hydrological situation, the report says.
The beluga whales were transported by sea with the use of transport pools onboard the vessel due to the flood in the Khabarovsk Region and the inability to transport the animals along the Amur River.
There were 90 belugas and 11 orcas caught for sale to China kept in Srednyaya Bay in the Primorsky Region since the summer of 2018, but three beluga whales and one orca later got lost. According to investigators, the animals were caught with violations, and a criminal case on the illegal capture of bioresources was launched. In June, the gradual transportation of the animals to the north of the Khabarovsk Region for release to the environment started.