Environmental and animal protection groups have expressed outrage over a plan to display two orca whales at the Olympic games in Sochi next month. Whale researchers and advocates have called on Olympic officials to condemn the plan to keep the whales on display in a small tank.
A group of Russian companies called White Sphere captured seven orca whales from the Sea of Okhotsk in 2012. Two of them will be used in the display.
CBC is reporting that environmental groups, including BC whale researcher Paul Spong, are calling on the International Olympic Committee to push for the release of the whales back into the wild. Spong and others believe that keeping the whales in a captive display is contrary to the spirit of the games.
An online petition against the plan has now logged over 94,000 signatures but there has been no response from the Russian government.
Headed for Sochi?
Meantime, a report from independent news website, “The Raw Story” questions if the whales, who have yet to be transported to Sochi, will be taken to the Olympic site at all. The Whale and Dolphin Conservation organization has claimed the whales are currently in Moscow where developers are in the process of planning a new Oceanarium.
The Russian press has not reported the whales are being held in Moscow. The official line from Russian officials is that the whales remain in a holding facility on the east coast of the country. However, a press release from a Russian airport press official on December 2 confirmed that two whales had been transported to the facility in Moscow. Whether these whales are to be transported to Sochi for display, or if two other whales will be brought in remains unknown.