«In recent days, the Internet has stirred up the story with killer whales at AREC (VDNKh). Orcas brought to Moscow in December last year, and before that one of them - the famous Narnia - a whole year kept alone in a small sea pen in the Far East.
The presence of orcas kept in strict confidence, to the point that the press-office of the Exhibition responded negatively to journalistic inquiry. Secret was revealed only after animal welfare organization “Vita” appealed to the police, which confirmed the presence of animals in the inflatable pavilion.
This caused a wave of indignation and not indifferent of the public and response excuses from administration with attempts to discredit opponents - a classic set of mutual anti-PR. But for all the hype went unheeded much more serious problem - the problem of live-capture and keeping of marine mammals in Russia as a whole.
Orca Narnia and her tankmate - are just the tip of the iceberg. They were caught in the Sea of Okhotsk in the framework of legalized business of capturing and trading marine mammals. The annual quota for catching whales is 10 animals, and most of the animals are sold in China, although officially trapping conducted in “educational, cultural and educational purposes.” Owners of dolphinariums in the world - and Russia is no exception - justify their activities as “slurred cultural and educational value”, but in reality it’s only commercial institution whose program focused on satisfaction of the simplest taste of the general public.
But the problem is not only the disparity between the stated and real goals of capture. The main problem is that no one knows exactly how many whales we have in the Sea of Okhotsk. Estimates of different specialists ranging from 300 to 10,000 individuals - with such accuracy it will be honest to say “we do not know.” Moreover, there live two different populations of orcas that feed on different prey and do not interbreed.
In the waters of the Kuril Islands and in the central part of the Okhotsk Sea are found mainly fish-eating orcas, and in shallow coastal areas in western, northern and north-eastern parts of the Okhotsk Sea - dominated transient orcas that feed on seals and other marine animals. They being caught for sale, orcas at AREC are from this population. In captivity, they are fed with “12 species of fish,” although in the wild they hunted seals.
By law, the different populations belong to different “stock”, and quotas on them need to be calculated separately, but in reality this is not done, while taking into account transients and residents orcas consider together. However, we know that transients orcas usually scarce - in fact they are on top of the food pyramid. Such intensive capture, as now, can undermine the population in a few years. This will be bad news not only for lovers of killer whales, but also for the local fishermens - in fact transients orcas regulate the number of seals that often steal fish from the nets.
In addition, the control of catching almost not adjusted. Even neat capture conducted by experienced specialists - is a big trauma for the animals that come off from the family home and placed in an alien and frightening situation. We have the same things are much worse: during capture independent observers are not present, so that if some animals are dying, those not taken into account. According to official statistics, in recent years, not a single orca died, although unofficial sources, we know, says that this happens regularly. Lack of control encourages abuse: in July of this year three orcas have been captured illegally before official ssuance of permits and were sold in China with 2013 documents.
Story with orcas in Moscow highlighted another important issue - the lack in Russia of any laws or regulations governing the content of marine mammals in captivity. And the “Vita”, and the owners of animals during the discussion referred to some “standards”, but the bitter truth is that we have no such standards, and orcas can legitimately contain even in the bathroom.
Summarizing this whole story, it is hoped that raised by animal rights activists hype pull out some of the above problems to the surface and attract the attention of of relevant government authorities - then at least you can say that it was not in vain.»
A combination of boredom and sadness has inspired me to make a list of my personal top floor routines, ones I just can’t stop watching, the ones with choreography I love and music I can’t get out of my head. Enjoy