Two Orcas Captured by Hunters for Display in Sochi During Olympics

The UK Mirror reports that two orcas have been captured to be put on display at a Sochi aquarium during the Olympics:

SeaworldThe mammals , which can grow up to 22ft long and swim 100 miles a day, are set to be kept in a “small concrete tank” after a 4,614-mile flight from the far east of Russia.

Animal protection advisers said the move to exhibit the orcas – not really whales but members of the dolphin family – was cruel and a “callous attempt to cash in on the Olympics”.

Campaigners say the two killer whales, along with six others, are being held “in small pools” near Vladivostok.

The reports appear to be backed up by a late November post on the Facebook group Russian Orcas, which wrote:

We have new information that two of the killer whales being held near Vladivostok are soon to be flown across Russia to the Sochi Dolphinarium. Sochi is a busy place these days preparing for the winter Olympics, 7-23 Feb. 2014. The whale captors are intending to make money during the Olympics by putting the orcas on display. These will be the first orcas ever displayed in public in Russia. A sad day for Russia, a sad thing for the Olympics, a very sad situation for 2 orcas who now will be flying across 7 time zones, some 7,427 kilometres (4,614 miles) to spend the rest of what remains of their lives in captivity.

The news comes as the plight of the animals at venues like Sea World is being highlighted in the documentary Blackfish.


  1. Fox says

    Totally against what the Olympics are all about. We can figure this grievance will also fall on deaf ears.

    Can we hope the Orcas are gay?

    “Homosexual interactions are an integral and important part of male Orca social life. During the summer and fall—when resident pods join together to feast on the salmon runs—males of all ages often spend the afternoons in sessions of courtship, affectionate, and sexual behaviors with each other. A typical homosexual interaction begins when a male Killer Whale leaves his matrilineal group to join a temporary male-only group; a session can last anywhere from a few minutes to more than two hours, with the average length being just over an hour. Usually only two Orcas participate at a time, although groups of three or four males are not uncommon, and even five participants at one time have been observed. The males roll around with each other at the surface, splashing and making frequent body contact as they rub, chase, and gently nudge one another.”

    Continued at:

  2. fern says

    Thank you Towleroad for shedding light on the plight of these orcas. Capturing these amazing animals so they can be confined for the rest of their lives is horrific. Shameful actions and as Mike says another reason to boycott Russia and the Sochi Olympics.

  3. Kim says

    For those of you saying we are hypocrites – I don’t like the idea of keeping Orcas in captivity – but it has been 5 decades since American companies – or aquariums have taken Orcas from the wild. Places like Seaworld have a breeding program. I’m still against it – but you are comparing apples to oranges. These orcas can still be returned and not suffer any long term damage – that is what needs to be done. Orcas stay in family pods for their entire lifetimes which can be as long as 80 yrs in the wild. A captive Orca is lucky to live 20 yrs. This idea in Sochi definitely needs to be addressed.

  4. BARRY says

    many if not most adult orcas so captured die within 2 years due to clinical depression (their brain weighs 4 times a human’s,with the emotional centre much larger than our’s) and physical illnesses caused by the poorer water quality and quantity.there has never been a case of a wild one killing a human-yet we allow selfish people to destroy the lives of tens of thousands of dolphins and whales each year.

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