A news report for one of Russia's biggest media channels has included a claim that the recently wild-captured Russian orcas now on display at the new Moscow oceanarium were saved by the oceanarium after they were captured by poachers. The article says that the captures occurred in the Sea of Okhotsk two years ago, although one orca, a female known as 'Narnia', was captured in 2012. While reports suggest that two orcas were captured illegally in 2013, OrcaHome indicates that the male orca known as 'Nord' was captured in 2013, while the third orca, another female known as 'Juliet', was captured in 2014. The article's focus is on Vladimir Putin's visit to the facility on the eve of the facility's opening, during which the orcas performed in an entertainment show for the Russian president.
Dr. Ingrid Visser, an orca researcher who co-founded the Free Morgan Foundation, has been working to free another young orca who was rescued from the wild and placed into captivity. The orca, known as 'Morgan', was supposed to have been rehabilitated and released, but was also sent to an entertainment facility where she performs in shows. Visser says of the Moscow oceanarium's claim, "If the aqarium were truly promoting ‘rescue’, they would have confiscated the orca from the so-called poachers and returned the orca to their families - a much stronger message than the outdated and shameful tricks and circus activities that the aquarium currently promotes."
Narnia, Nord and Juliet are now on display at the recently opened Moscow facility, which boasts to be the largest oceanography centre in Europe.
The full article is available in Russian, with a part translation below:
“Europe's largest Oceanography Center will start working tomorrow in the capital(Moscow) at VDNKh.
Vladimir Putin visited Moscvarium(as this grandiose building also called) on the eve of Grand opening.
Reportage by Ilya Kostin.”
“Jumping, dancing and breathtaking tricks. Moscow oceanarium welcomes first guest and immediately surprises. Gigantic water scene size of a football field. 3-D projections and, of course, artists – graceful orcas. Every their movement and tricks bring delight and smiles as well to kids and adults."
“I like everything. It seems like everything was made especially for kids. The builders did a great job.”
“It would be really cool to bring a whale here if that would have been possible. So we can see the whale here.”
“When we entered the room, I was struck by a magical feeling - it's very beautiful, with such a big pool.”
One of the first visitors of Moscvarium was Vladimir Putin. Along with a Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, he took a seat in the audience and witnessed how trainers play with newcomers - orcas Narnia Nord and baby Juliet.
Majestic and proud inhabitants of the seas and oceans and future stars of the Moscow oceanarium preparing for the performance. By the way, There are no two identical shows with killer whale. It’s just impossible to do because orcas have quite capricious nature, so trainers have to adjust the program for their mood.
But this Unique Show would have never happen. The thing is that these orcas were captured by poachers 2 years ago in The Sea of Okhotsk. They would have probably die there. They(Oceanrium) literally fought for this orcas to take them from these cruel poacher-hunters to save them. Here(In Moscvarium) they have created all condition for the Lords of the deep sea.
President visited the complex of 80 aquariums where live inhabitants of marine and freshwater fauna from Greenland to Kamchatka.
Only 250 species of fish. Right next to them - Baikal seals.
The exhibition is constructed in the way that even little kids are able to come very close and take a close look everywhere.
In fact, This is now Europe's largest scientific Oceanography Center, which is divided into three zones: in addition to aquariums and water show there is also a pool with dolphins.They are now getting use to their new home. That’s why it’s only allowable to watch them through the glass wall now, but everyone will be able to swim with them very soon.
President went through the tunnel while PREDATOR FISH and even shark swam right above visitor heads.
[The rest of this report is about VDNKh in general, about how the Mayor showed the President other construction plans for VDNKh, etc.]
Thank you to the Marine Connection for arranging the article's translation.