VLADIVOSTOK, November 10. /TASS/. The final group of beluga whales remaining in captivity in Srednyaya Bay, in Russia’s Far East, has been released into the wild, the press service of the Pacific Research Institute for Fisheries and Oceanography (TINRO) told TASS on Sunday.
"The specialists have completed the release of the last batch of beluga whales," a spokesman said, noting that they have been freed into Uspenia Bay.
The operation to load the remaining 50 beluga whales from Srednyaya Bay in the Primorsky Region to vessels in order to take them to their release point began early on November 5. All the belugas were supposed to have been released at once. However, powerful winds suspended the loading. Then, a decision was made to release them in several groups. The first 19 beluga whales were freed into the sea on Friday, and another 31 mammals on Sunday.
Whale of a saga
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. Three orcas were set free on July 16, and three more marine animals on August 6. The most recent group of orcas and six beluga whales were let go on August 27. The 50 beluga whales in Srednyaya Bay, were the last group.