MOSCOW, March 5. /TASS/. The Russian Presidential Administration will keep close tabs on the issue of releasing orcas in Russia’s Far Eastern Primorye Region, Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday.
"The issue cannot be considered closed, and we do not view it as closed," Peskov stressed commenting on the roadmap made public by the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. "The Russian Presidential Administration’s Control Directorate will deal with the issue and keep it under its special control."
Peskov pointed to different viewpoints in society, even among scientists, on whether the animals will be able to survive in the wild after being kept in captivity.
"Some scientists and representatives of specialized agencies believe that they will be able [to survive] and that they need to be released before it gets warm," the Kremlin spokesman said. "Others vehemently deny that, arguing that the animals will be doomed to death if released [from captivity]."
All that makes these attempts to resolve the issue a bit more difficult, he added. "The situation has not been resolved de facto, so we will be closely following [the developments]," Peskov concluded.
On February 22, Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ministry of Agriculture, along with academic institutions, to determine the fate of these animals by March 1. Last week, the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources said a roadmap on the adaptation of the captive sea animals to their natural habitat was being set. Orcas and beluga whales have been added to the list of marine life with strict annual catch limits. The animals in question were captured with serious violations on the catch limitations for their population’s age-sex groupings, the ministry added.
On March 4, Russian Natural Resources Minister Dmitry Kobylkin told reporters that a detailed plan for the release and adaption of orcas and beluga whales kept in the adaptation center in the Primorye Region would be put together soon.