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Whitefish and killer whales from the "whale prison" in Primorye began skin changes
Employees of the Primorsky Border Guard Service of the Federal Security Service of Russia, as well as leading Russian experts in biology, ecology, veterinary medicine and cetaceans in captivity, tested the “center for the adaptation of marine mammals” in Srednyaya Bay under Nakhodka, better known as the “whale prison”. Beluga whales and killer whales are not reduced there, but experts are concerned about their condition, especially the traces that have appeared on the skin.
The experts examined the animals and the enclosures in which they are contained, took skin samples for genetic research, water samples in enclosures, and samples of vocalizations - sounds made by animals. The results of studies of these samples will be known later, but after a visual inspection of the experts appeared concerns.
According to the Sakhalin Ekovaht, the bay was not frozen, but the whole “adaptation center” together with the adjacent water area is completely covered with a dense layer of ice. To deal with it, employees use heat guns and compressors, manually remove ice from enclosures. This causes stress in killer whales, and belugas in their natural environment do not live in the ice at all. Experts think that their health was reflected in changes in the skin of the dorsal fin and back, which were unusual for orcas, some have peeling off the skin, and in the male Cyril the skin peels off with large flaps. According to experts, this may be due to molting or may be due to hypothermia and frostbite.
The changes appeared in the white whales - many around the back of the head, neck and breathing appeared a lot of strange dark spots. One beluga in the neck noticed a marked reduction in the fat layer, which is not characteristic of a healthy, normally feeding animal. In general, according to preliminary data, the general condition of belugas is favorable.
After Sredny Bay shackled the ice, employees of the Russian Greenpeace stated that the life of killer whales and belugas is in danger - in such conditions animals can freeze fins and backs. It is difficult to assume how much more they will survive in such conditions.
Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk city court found illegal permits to catch killer whales in 2018, Sledky opened a criminal case. Public organizations have expressed distrust in the investigator who is leading the case of "whale prisons." Activists petitioned to the head of the Sledkom of Russia Alexander Bastrykin about the personal control of this criminal case. He was also asked to take urgent measures to set the animals free. At the end of last year Primorsky Regional Court canceled the arrest warrant in killer whales and beluga whales.