Nineteen white whales from Srednyaya Bay released into the wild in Uspeniya Bay

Nineteen white whales from Srednyaya Bay released into the wild in Uspeniya Bay

8 November 2019

On 8 November, 19 white (beluga) whales from Srednyaya Bay were released into Uspeniya Bay, near the Lazovsky Nature Reserve in the Primorye Territory, the website of the Russian Federal Research Institute for Fisheries and Oceanography (VNIRO) reports.


The beluga whales were to the release site on the Professor Kaganovsky research vessel, which sailed from Srednyaya Bay to Uspeniya Bay in seven hours.


“During the journey, the animals were calm.  Scientists, veterinarians and experienced trainers monitored their behaviour. The release of 19 whales started at 9 am and is already over. Three large whales received satellite tags that will allow scientists to track the animals in the wild,” the report said.


At the same time, another 13 animals were loaded in Srednyaya Bay onboard the Zodiak research vessel. The ship will head to Uspeniya Bay, to the release site, today and will get there on Saturday, 9 November.


The release of the beluga whales in the Sea of Japan is also being monitored by border guards, according to RIA Novosti.


“Their (border guards’) ship escorted the Professor Kaganovsky vessel tonight from Srednyaya Bay to Uspeniya Bay, and is currently monitoring the release of the whales and counting the animals released. The Border Service reports that there are no poaching vessels in the release area and in adjacent waters – border guards checked this in advance,” Dmitry Lisitsyn, head of the Sakhalin Environment Watch, told the news agency.


He also said that border guards visited Srednaya Bay a few days ago, where they counted the beluga whales set to be released.


“All 50 animals were there,” Lisitsyn added.


The Professor Kaganovsky will return on 9 November to Srednyaya Bay for the remaining marine mammals. Currently, another 31 whales are awaiting release.


According to scientists, Uspeniya Bay offers a much better supply of food resources than the Sakhalin Gulf. Therefore this area is more preferable for beluga whales settling into the natural environment.