Media Statement: Wild Orcas Flown Across Russia, Put on Display at Dolphinarium in Sochi During 2014 Winter Olympics

For Immediate Release:
December 6, 2013

While the public outcry over the documentary Blackfish and opposition to the cruel capture and confinement of intelligent, social marine mammals have never been greater and SeaWorld attendance is dropping, Russia is confining its first-ever orcas for public display. In the summer and fall of 2013, seven orcas were taken from their families in the wild in the Russian Far East. They are being held in small pools near Vladivostok, and two of them will be flown across Russia to the dolphinarium in Sochi, where the 2014 Winter Olympics will be held. These orcas will spend the rest of what remains of their lives in a small concrete tank, deprived of everything that is natural and important to them. This highly stressful confinement causes abnormal behavior that is never seen in the wild, such as gnawing on the gates and concrete sides of their tanks, floating listlessly, and directing excessive and deadly aggression toward humans as well as other orcas. In addition, many of them die at unnaturally young ages.

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