Rus­sia frees bel­u­gas from ‘whale jail’

The National - News - - NEWS WORLD -

Rus­sian au­thor­i­ties said yes­ter­day they had com­pleted the re­lease of dozens of cap­tured bel­uga whales whose plight sparked an ap­peal by Hol­ly­wood celebri­ties and the in­ter­ven­tion of Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin. The mam­mals, caught last year to be sold to ma­rine parks or aquar­i­ums in China, were be­ing kept in cramped con­di­tions in a bay near the Pa­cific port of Nakhodka, along with 11 or­cas. Rus­sian me­dia de­scribed their en­clo­sures as a “whale jail”. The plight of the or­cas, which were be­ing held with 87 bel­uga whales, trig­gered an in­ter­na­tional out­cry and celebri­ties in­clud­ing Leonardo DiCaprio sup­ported a pe­ti­tion that drew nearly 1.5 mil­lion sig­na­tures call­ing for their re­turn to the ocean.

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