The Russian Far East has started a new beluga and orca gold rush. I’ve got an update, based on information from Erich Hoyt and his Far East Russia Orca Project, about the wave of captures up on Outside Online. Here’s a key point:
Hoyt says that these new wild captures are being conducted by a conglomerate of companies called White Sphere, which captures marine mammals, and builds and operates aquariums in Russia. One aquarium, the Sochinskiy Delfinariy has been identified as the owner of Narnia. Hoyt believes that two of the recently caught orcas, a 4-year-old female and an 8-year-old male, are being offered for sale abroad, perhaps to a Chinese facility, and that at least two of the remaining group of five (one is a mature female; the sex and ages of the others are not known) will be shipped to Moscow soon to be placed in an Oceanarium that is being built at the All-Russia Exhibition Centre. Hoyt worries that the mature female might be the mother of the two young orcas being offered for sale abroad, which means that the family group would be broken up.
According to Hoyt, two CITES permits have already been issued, presumably to transport the two young orcas to China. You can read the whole thing here.