French Oceanographic Explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau Came to Primorye

Photo: Aglaya Zidulko
Photo: Aglaya Zidulko

The Cousteau team came to Russia in order to find a suitable solution for the release and rehabilitation of killer whales and beluga whales in the Srednyaya Bay in Primorsky Krai. According to TASS, the oceanologist hopes that the experience of his scientists will help in finding a solution to the problem.

"We work with all decision makers around the world in such places like Mexico, the USA and others. We work with people to understand the connection with the ocean, with these animals. We came here to help and find appropriate solution", said Jean-Michel Cousteau at a briefing in Vladivostok.


Photo: Lora Beloivan
Photo: Lora Beloivan

The scientist said he was grateful for the invitation to come to Primorye. “We have assembled a team, we will go there [to the Srednyaya Bay]. We will go to work with scientists, with observers, with those who work directly with animals, to help them”, said Cousteau.

There are plans to visit the support center on April 6.


There were installed floating enclosures near the west coast of the Srednyaya Bay. 11 killer whales and 87 belugas (including cubs), illegally caught in the Sea of ​​Okhotsk, were kept there since the summer of 2018. There they were tamed before being sold to oceanariums abroad, most likely China and Japan.

Three little belugas disappeared in late December. Law enforcement authorities decided that they could swim through the holes in the enclosure. Also, the Vladivostok Interdistrict Environmental Prosecution established that o
ne of the caught killer whales disappeared.
More than 1 million Russians have signed a petition demanding the release of animals.
Steven Spielberg, Pamela Anderson, Leonardo DiCaprio went up against the "whale prison".

The oceanographer posts detailed reports about the activity of his team in Russia on the official page on Facebook.

Earlier, the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Russian Federation reported that Cousteau was invited to join the expert working group. The official letter addressed to the oceanographer was sent by the governor of Primorye Oleg Kozhemyako.


Photo: Lora Beloivan
Photo: Lora Beloivan

Earlier it was reported that about a hundred killer whales and beluga whales live in the cages of a small bay of the Sea of Okhotsk. This place is called the "whale prison." As it turned out, the animals were caught with numerous violations of the law, they were supposed to be sold abroad in the oceanariums of China. Administrative and criminal cases are initiated.

It also became known that the enclosures, in which belugas and killer whales are now kept in the Bay of Srednyaya in Primorsky Krai, will be expanded in size. Animals will be moved to separate enclosures. One enclosure will allow to set out 15 belugas - five in each of the three sections. Another enclosure will be set for killer whales. According to experts from the interdepartmental group, the animals have successfully survived the winter, there are no concerns about their health and life now.


Photo: Lora Beloivan
Photo: Lora Beloivan

The Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment of the Russian Federation considers that all individuals should be released this summer. The total cost of the release of killer whales from the "whale prison" in Primorye is estimated at 200-300 million rubles. There will be built convenient and safe boxes for transportation. Also there is included delivery to the place of the traditional habitat of marine mammals.

The situation is closely monitored by animal rights activists from the public organization "Freedom for Killer Whales and Belugas" and a member of the Primorsky Regional Branch of the Russian Geographical Society Lora Belovian.