MOSCOW, October 24. /TASS/. All the 50 beluga whales from Srednyaya Bay will be released in one group next week, the press service of the Russian Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography (VNIRO) told TASS on Thursday.
"On October 24, a working group on readaptation/adaptation plans for marine mammals staying in Srednyaya Bay, Primorsky Region, of the expert council accepted the recommendations on the release of all the 50 beluga whales that remain in the bay in one group," the source said, adding that the transportation will be carried out the next week.
The interlocutor noted that VNIRO’s experts are preparing two research vessels, which had returned from scientific expeditions and can take all animals on board, for the transportation of 50 beluga whales.
The release of beluga whales was previously carried out in the Sakhalin Gulf area. Now in light of the oncoming storms, which would make it impossible to transport and release the mammals to the previously determined places, the recommendation was accepted to let the animals go in the Primorsky Region, in a bay near the Lazovsky Nature Reserve.
There were 90 beluga whales and 11 orcas caught for sale to China staying in the Srednyaya Bay, Primorsky Region, since the summer of 2018, but later three beluga whales and one orca got lost. According to investigators, the animals had been captured with violations, and a criminal case was launched into the illegal capture of bioresources.
In June, the gradual transportation of the animals to the north of the Khabarovsk Region started in order to release them to their natural habitation. The first group, consisting of two orcas and six beluga whales, was turned loose on June 27. Three orcas were let go on July 16, and three more — on August 6. The last group of orcas and six beluga whales were set free on August 27. Fifty beluga whales are currently staying in the Srednyaya Bay.