The incident of killer and beluga Whales held captive in enclosures in Russia has come as a shock to lovers of wildlife and Russia has taken immediate steps. It has announced its plans to impose a ban on the controversial “whale jails.” These enclosures are located near the city of Nakhodka, which is on the Pacific Coast of Russia and in close proximity to the Chinese border.

Daily Mail UK reports that these animals can fetch huge sums of money and local activists believe that they are meant for Chinese aquariums. The authorities have launched an investigation to establish whether there are any permissions to hold the 11 killer whales and 90 beluga whales.

The Russian government's environment agency has decided to put a halt to the catching of these whales from 2019 onwards.

This has been going on for a while

This activity has come to light thanks to footage of a crane lifting one of these whales from a water tank in Russia. A local media claims that this had been going on for a while and the lifting appeared to suggest preparations were underway for transporting them elsewhere. It seems four companies had rented the facility and have already dispatched more than a dozen orcas to China between 2013 and 2016. As journalist Masha Netrebenko puts it – “the scale of what is happening here is shocking." Aerial views captured by a helicopter reveal plenty of white (Beluga) whales in the enclosures.

There are four companies involved in these activities and they have permission to catch a limited number of orcas this year. In the opinion of the prosecutors in Vladivostok, there are specific guidelines specifying reasons for catching them.

It must be either for conservation or for educational purposes. However, many of the animals are infants and there is a ban on capturing such young ones. This is, undoubtedly, a lucrative venture to some because China already has a number of marine theme parks and they plan to expand.

Criminal proceedings started

According to Pravda Report, news about the belugas and orcas in a "whale prison" has attracted international attention.

It seems there is a demand for these animals in China. They will land up in sea aquariums and people are raising their voices. These animals flourish in the oceans and confining them to small bodies of water is inhuman. Well-wishers have launched protests in Vladivostok. Their demand is for a global ban on the capture of such marine mammals, especially the young ones. It is a violation of Russian law. The violators will face action and the authorities have started a criminal case against them.