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Stop orca captures in Russia

$2,590 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 44 people in 9 months
26 orcas and 225 belugas can be captured in 2018-19 unless we find a way to stop it.

Despite huge public outrage against brutal captures of orcas and belugas, Russian government approved capture quotas in June of 2018.


The captures are happening in the Far East of Russia in a remote location - Nikolaya Bay in the Sea of Okhotsk  ( https://goo.gl/maps/BZxtCeA2KFS2 ). The captures are only allowed for educational and scientific purposes, but in fact orcas and belugas are being sold to China for display purposes. 15 orcas and more than 200 belugas were captured in Russia and sold to oceanariums in China in the last 5 years.
31684830_1532879234607455_r.jpegJust recently, on July 18th, The Prosecutor General’s Office of Russian Federation demanded initiation of a criminal case into the catching and illegal sale of seven killer whales from Russian Far East to China. Despite that fact, new permits for capture in 2018 are being issued and capture is about to start again. Chinese marine park industry is growing very fast and therefore more captures are going to happen in Russia, and more families of highly intelligent creatures will be destroyed in the name of entertainment.
31684830_1532880186757285_r.jpeg
Nobody knows how many orcas and belugas are in russian waters, but every year dozens of babies are being captured and sold. This could lead to great damage to reproduction of the entire population and even lead to extinction in the future.

A team of brave people from russian organization “Ocean friends” based in Sakhalin (Far East of Russia) are going to the capture location of orcas to monitor the situation for the first time. It has never been done before and could be very dangerous, but the “Ocean friends” team is eager to do whatever it takes to stop the captures of orcas for good. The captures are usually taking place in August, since Nikolaya Bay is covered with ice until the middle of July and storm season starts in the middle of September. The “Ocean friends” team are on the way to the capture location and will be staying there until the end of the season.

The main tasks of the mission:
1) Monitor the capture of orcas.
Record and keep records of how many animals are caught, how many are killed. If and where possible - check compliance with other environmental legislation issues.
2) Take photos and videos on the scene. Provide reports through satellite connection to the media (news channels, social networks).
3) Group of participants are the only team in Russia trained by international experts (trained by IFAW specialists) in the work with entangled large whales. If possible, they will do their best to save orcas from drowning in the nets.
4) If possible – the group will take tissue samples for genetic research.

For the first time in Russia, monitoring and control over capture of orcas will be performed. Important information of capture methods will be obtained. All of the evidence obtained during this mission and any facts regarding destruction of animals will be documented and formally submitted to the officials. Photos and video materials will be used to raise public awareness to stop capture of orcas in Russia and to encourage public to refuse keeping them in captivity in Russia and other countries of the world (especially China).

It is a very important mission and we really need your help to cover expenses for travel, satellite, photo equipment, gas, insurance, and emergencies. Please donate anything you can and share this story with your friends. We have to stop capture of orcas and belugas and I truly believe we can achieve that together!
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URGENT: Two orcas have been captured in Russia - fishermen are using firearms to prevent Sakhalin group "Ocean Friends" to collect the evidence.

For the first time in Russia, public monitoring over the capture of killer whales is conducted. The “Ocean Friends” group arrived to the capture location and set up a camp near the fishermen base in the Nicholay Bay, Khabarovsk region. A group of volunteers performs public monitoring of the capture of killer whales for allegedly educational purposes, but in fact for sale to overseas aquariums (15 killer whales and about 200 belugas have been sold to China over the past 5 years). The attempt to film fishermen boats with a drone almost ended with the loss of it when they opened fire to prevent filming.

After lunch, the ship "Yuri Shvetsov" came to the Nicholay Bay - two captured orcas were kept in the containers on board. Four containers for transportation of animals are installed on the ship. Captain of the ship refused to let “Ocean Friends” team to get on board and check on condition of the orcas.

When “Yuri Shvetsov" ship started to go south at a fast pace “Ocean Friends” followed them and tried to take a footage with a video camera mounted on a pole, but fishermen had for nozzles ready to prevent it. Also, the group received an oral threat that firearms will be used of they try to fly drones again.

At the end of the day “Ocean Friends” monitored and photo-ided family of transient orcas that swam peacefully in the Nicholay Bay and did not suspect a possible threat to their youngsters. The family included seven individuals - they were hunting seals.

All the updates about this important expedition will be published under hashtag #orcacapture2018
Please follow the news - we might need your help soon!
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