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Walrus replaced the whale prison in Primorye

After the release of killer whales and belugas, several walruses remain in Srednyaya Bay

All killer whales and belugas from the “whale prison” in the south of Primorye were released. The operation to release almost 100 mammals lasted from June to November. However, the story of the prisoners is not over - there are six small walruses caught in iron containers caught back in 2018. Now their fate is being dealt with by environmentalists and prosecutors.

Walrus replaced the whale prison in Primorye
Photo: Coalition "Freedom to killer whales and whales"

They don’t see the light of white

The fact that among the prisoners of the "whale prison" there are walruses became known thanks to ecologists back in December 2018. According to the conclusion of the veterinarian, who was then conducting an examination of the state of the animals at the request of the Vladivostok Environmental Protection Prosecutor’s Office, six puppies of the Pacific walrus were kept in the Middle. All of them were yearlings, that is, they were under the age of one year. At the time of the examination he was no more than eight months old.

“Animals are kept in a hangar remote from cetacean enclosures. Inside the hangar there is a fodder kitchen and hozbloki premises. Walruses are contained in welded steel containers equipped with swimming pools and land, 1: 3 ratio in favor of water. Aviaries are not visible from the inside, as they are fenced with polycarbonate. Animals are in a closed enclosed space. To observe them there is a viewing gap. Of the five enclosures with animals, three are occupied. Walruses are contained in groups and individually: three, two and one animal, respectively. Indoor hangar without access to sunlight. No ultraviolet lamps were seen in the aviary, ”the veterinarian describes the place where they keep walruses.

For the entire existence of the “whale prison”, and this is about a year, it was repeatedly visited by film crews of federal television channels, once a press tour was organized once in early March. However, experts containing animals did not show media walruses, despite requests.

“We have walruses. They are now in quarantine, so you cannot see them, ”said then head coach of the“ whale prison ”Andrei Nasonov. However, he did not specify exactly where the animals are kept and how many of them.

How many walruses are now in closed hangars is unknown. The fact that they continue to remain there is only indirect evidence: ecologists who watched the operation to release killer whales and beluga whales spoke of the screams of walruses from the territory of the “whale prison”.


Tore off from mother

According to the FSB border administration for the Eastern Arctic region, six walruses were caught in the waters of Chukotka near the villages of Inchon and Enurmino in the 2018 year, Sochi Dolphinarium LLC and Oceanarium DV LLC were the same companies that caught and kept killer whales and whales for whale prisons. "

As noted in the border administration, live walrus harvesting was carried out by companies for educational, cultural and educational purposes on the basis of permits of Rosrybolovtva. From the village of Enurmino, animals were first sent to Anadyr by plane, and then to Khabarovsk.

“On the territory of the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug and adjacent sea waters, there were no facts of prey and catch of lactating females with cubs in violation of the environmental laws of the Russian Federation,” border guards said in their response to public figures.

In turn, the Amur Territorial Administration of the Federal Agency for Fishery in response to a request from public figures said that six walruses in Chukotka were caught by companies on the basis of their permits for cultural and educational purposes. Oceanarium DV LLC caught five walruses, Sochi Dolphinarium LLC - one. Environmentalists believe that walruses were caught, like cetaceans, for sale in Asian aquariums.

“Female walruses always protect their cubs to the last. One walrus puppy caught is one dead mother, ”environmentalists emphasize.

Chance of freedom

The Khabarovsk Territory Arbitration Court dismissed the lawsuit filed by the Amur Basin Environmental Protection Prosecutor’s Office regarding the illegal issuance of permits for the extraction of walruses, belugas and whales to four marine animal trapping companies for the “whale prison” in Primorye. The motivation for the decision has not yet been announced. The prosecutor's office intends to appeal the decision.

The legality of the walrus catch is checked by the lawyers of the coalition of public organizations "Freedom to killer whales and whales." Earlier in court, they challenged the legality of catching killer whales and beluga whales in court. For example, the Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk City Court on May 31 declared illegal the orders of the Federal Agency for Fishery, which in the year 2018 allocated quotas for catching animals. At the same time, a number of ecologists previously reported that the capture of cubs is prohibited, as well as hunting for lactating females.

Environmentalists positively assess the chances of adapting walruses after a year of "imprisonment", but we must wait until they get stronger. At the same time, the Seal Center in Primorye is ready to accept the pups for rehabilitation.

“We consulted with walrus specialists and received positive predictions - unlike killer whales and beluga whales, walrus eating behavior is congenital rather than acquired. Even in captivity, they demonstrate these skills. It is dangerous to release walruses under the age of two years into the habitat - they will not be able to survive, because they feed on milk and cannot get their own food. But after two years, when they switch to “adult” food, they can survive if you try to release them directly at the rookery. Perhaps they can join any group of walruses. In order to help them return to their habitats and increase their chances of survival, it is necessary to carry out their rehabilitation, and for this it is necessary to tear out walruses from the “prison”, - says the coalition of public ecological organizations “Freedom to killer whales and whales”.

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