SOCHI, Russian Federation, January 29 — The newest in a long string of controversies leading up to the Olympic games in Sochi involves a pair of wild-caught orcas that are set to be displayed during the games.
The orcas, more commonly known as killer whales, were caught off the northern coast of Japan and flown to Russia. Their final destination is uncertain, but the Sochi Aquatoria has been quiet on the matter, leading many to believe that the city aquarium will house the large mammals during the games.
The move has not been without backlash, however. The Vancouver Sun reports that nearly 100,000 people have signed a petition asking the Russian government not to display the orcas during the games.
The petition asserts that the “capture and display of orcas causes immense suffering to the whales.”
According to the Sun, the founder of OrcaLab, Paul Spong, has stated, “It’s totally inappropriate… They live very shortened lives in captivity, although there are exceptions.”
He added that wild-caught orcas are ripped away from their families, which causes great distress.
Likening the capture of wild orcas to animal abuse, Spong said, “Orcas are beautiful creatures. They have real needs and those needs can never be taken care of in captivity.”
Russian agencies have not released an official statement since the original confirmation in which they first stated that a single orca had been captured and was heading for Sochi.
Click here to read the article from the Vancouver Sun.