Dozens of Beluga whales, captured in Russia and kept in confined conditions, were finally released.
Nearly 100 people were illegally captured last year – as well as 11 killer whales – in the Okhotsk Sea, some 1,200 km north of the Nakhodka port in the Pacific, where they were placed in "jails". whales ".
It is thought that the whales were sold to Chinese amusement parks.
Their situation provoked an international outcry. Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio supported a petition, which garnered more than a million signatures, calling for the release of mammals.
In a statement, the Russian Research Institute for Fisheries and Oceanology said: "An operation to release marine mammals into their natural habitat in the region of Primorye has been completed.
"All remaining belugas were released in Assumption Bay on Sunday, November 10".
The Kremlin intervened after the capture of the whales. President Vladimir Putin ordered the local authorities of the Russian Far East to intervene. The authorities then began to release them in batches at the end of June.
FSB Russian Security Service has laid charges against companies involved in the capture for violations of fisheries laws.
The Kremlin stated that Russia does not directly prohibit the capture of whales, but that they can only be legally captured in specific circumstances, for example for scientific and educational purposes.
Prior to release, whales were transported for six days over 1,800 km – which was criticized by Green peace and international scientists, who said the process was hasty, conducted in secret, and may have put animals at risk.
Russian authorities said the operation to release the last captured whales began five days ago.