A group of prominent global citizens signed a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin encouraging the government to release 10 orcas and 80+ beluga whales now kept in inadequate sea pens in the “Whale Jail” in Srednyaya Bay, near the east coast city of Nakhodka.
The letter, which was prepared by the International Marine Mammal Project of Earth Island Institute, is signed by Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan, Jean-Michel Cousteau, Dr. Jane Goodall, Sir Richard Branson, business leaders like Tom Gruber and David Shaw, actors like Pamela Anderson, Mark Ruffalo and Holly Marie Combs, and musicians like Jackson Browne and Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart.
Here is the text:
President Vladimir Putin
23, Ulitsa Ilyinka,
103132, Moscow, Russia
Russian Federation Embassy
2650 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20007
Dear President Putin:
We are writing to thank you and the Russian government for steps taken to protect 80+ beluga whales and 10 orcas now held in inadequate conditions in Srednyaya Bay, near the east coast city of Nakhodka.
We commend the action you have taken so far to block the export of these amazing beings to dolphinariums in other countries, as whales and dolphins do not cope well with captivity. We further commend you and your government for not approving new capture permits for 2019, and fully support the Russian initiative to implement a permanent ban on capture of Russian orcas and beluga whales. Such an action would prevent the horrible situation playing out in the Far East from happening ever again in the future.
We would like to ask you to take several important steps for the welfare of the remaining whales in the sea pens. We cannot stress enough that the lives of these whales are in danger, and they need immediate help. Please consider expanding their current sea pens in size and/or building additional enclosures to reduce the number of animals per pen and introducing insulation and warming protocols to prevent ice from forming in the enclosures. These steps are critical for the whales’ survival.
We further ask you and the Russian government, in consultation with Russian scientists and Russian non-governmental organizations, to plan to return the orcas and beluga whales to the Sea of Okhotsk and their birth populations when feasible. There are many international scientists and experts as well who have extensive expertise in successfully rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing orcas to the wild, such as Keiko, Springer and many others. International experts will be happy to provide their help to Russian colleagues with rehabilitation and release of the orcas and belugas back into the wild.
This is an important moment for Russia on the world stage.
The world is waiting for a happy ending in this tragic and unfortunate situation. Thank you again for all that you have done, and please take action to protect these magnificent Russian whales!
Tom Campbell, Cinematographer, Producer, Director
Susan Casey, Bestselling Author, Voices from the Ocean, Former Editor-in-Chief, O Magazine
Gregory Colbert, Artist, Creator of Ashes and Snow
Holly Marie Combs. Actor
Celine S. Cousteau, Filmmaker, Environmentalist
Jean-Michel Cousteau, Chairman and President, Ocean Futures Society, Member, Ocean Elders
Gabriela Cowperthwaite, Director, Blackfish
Beth Davidow, Cinematographer, Filmmaker, Author
Kristin Davis, Actor, Environmentalist
Saba Douglas-Hamilton, Television Presenter, Wildlife Conservationist
Sylvia Earle, PhD, National Geographic Explorer in Residence, Founder, Mission Blue, Member, Ocean Elders
Dr Jane Goodall PhD, DBE, Founder, Jane Goodall Institute, UN Messenger of Peace
Adrian Grenier, Actor, Director, Producer
Tom Gruber, Co-Founder of Siri Inc., Member, Ocean Elders
Graeme Kelleher, Former Chairman and CEO, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Member, Ocean Elders
Yuri Kolokolnikov, Actor
Doutzen Kroes, Model, Actor Environmentalist
Ilya Lagutenko, Musician, Mumiy Troll, Founder of VROX.org Festival
Kate Mara, Actor
Eli Martinez, International TV presenter, Environmentalist, Founder of Shark Diver Magazine
Leilani Münter, Race Car Driver, Environmentalist
Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan, Member, Ocean Elders
Edward Norton Jr., Actor
Hayden Panettiere, Actor
Prof. Bertrand Piccard, Chair, Solar Impulse Foundation, Member, Ocean Elders
Louie Psihoyos, Executive Director, Oceanic Preservation Society, Director, The Cove
Mark Ruffalo, Actor, Environmentalist
David Shaw, Manager, Black Point Group, Member, Ocean Elders
Robert Talbot, Film Maker, Photographer
Anne-Marie van Dijk, International Model
Captain Don Walsh, PhD, USN (Ret), Member, Ocean Elders
Bob Weir, Musician, Member, Ocean Elders
Maisie Williams, Actor, Environmentalist
Ann Wilson, Musician, Heart
Nancy Wilson, Musician, Heart
Olga Zueva, Filmmaker.