A Sochi aquarium is set to display during the Olympic Games a pair of orcas that were captured by whalers in waters north of Japan, say whale protection advocates.
Killer whale monitoring group Russian Orcas began reporting as early as 2012 that ships were capturing killer whales in the Okhotsk Sea with Sochi’s Aquatoria as a possible destination. Russian officials and staff at the aquarium have been mostly silent about the plans since that time, but with the Olympics just a few weeks away, local whale researchers and thousands of B.C. residents are joining international voices in decrying the move.
An online petition calling for Russia not to display the whales during the Games is gaining momentum. Nearly 100,000 people had signed the online petition by early Friday evening.
“(T)wo wild-caught orcas are being flown in, seemingly in the hopes of making more money during the Winter Olympics,” reads the petition, adding that the “capture and display of orcas causes immense suffering to the whales.”