Case Study: Killer Whales
Big Hearts Foundation has sent a request to Russian Federal Service for Veterinary Surveillance and Chief Veterinary Officer of the city of Moscow, asking them to send an independent specialist to examine conditions in which 2 killer whales are held at the VDNH pavilion in Moscow.
Wild orcas were snatched from their homes in the wild last year so that they can be confined to a concrete prison in Moscow.
The two orcas, a 7-year-old female named Narnia and an unnamed 5-year-old male, have been held captive in tiny covered tanks for the past 10 months. The animals are apparently being held in these temporary facilities pending the opening of a new aquarium under construction, which has been delayed until 2015. Experts warn that the whales could go deaf or insane in the meantime from the intense solitary confinement. Wild orcas live in close-knit social groups and swim up to 150 kilometres a day.
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As expected the government officials have cited the lack of legislation / rules which show that breach is happening in Moscow oceanarium. For Big Hearts to continue working on and campaigning for tighter control and an outright ban on orca capturing from the wild in Russia we need to get more support as our resources are stretched with other animal work at the moment.
Big Hearts Foundation has proposed a law change, which is currently being considered in the Russian State Duma. The law would require the premises where marine mammals and circus animals are kept to adhere to their natural habitat / requirements, this would make it impossible for travelling and most smaller Dolphinariums to exist and would, if approved, shut down most stationary ones.. Currently Russia does not have guidelines or legislation specifying transport / keep of marine mammals. In Russia there are around 40 dolphinariums, of which 5-7 are ‘travelling’.