Marine Connection: Conservation through education - protecting whales, dolphins and the world's oceans for the future generations

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Russian Federation

The Russian Federation is rapidly becoming the largest supplier of wild marine mammals to facilities around the world. As well as being a supplier of animals, the vast country has several of its own captive dolphin and whale facilities. The nature of the Russian Federation as a difficult country to gain access to and filter information from has meant that for many years, companies have been able to capture, display and export marine mammals without any monitoring or consequence.

Marine mammals including, but not limited to, beluga whales, Black Sea dolphins, walruses and seals have all been regularly captured and this continues within some Russian facilities. It has been reported that there have been no historical or current population assessments for Russian beluga whales and the case is similar for other animals such as Black Sea dolphins. Nevertheless, facilities in the Russian Federation continue to capture these animals and then export them all over the world to the detriment of the individual animal as well as the complex groups within which they travel.

Utrish dolphinarium Ltd.
One notorious Russian company, Utrish dolphinarium Ltd., to this day supplies wild marine mammals to facilities around the world. As well as walruses and seals, Utrish captures wild beluga whales and dolphins from the Black Sea.

Utrish dolphinarium openly uses wild beluga whales reportedly captured in the delta of the Amur River, where their "fattening zone is situated". Wild populations of beluga whale are endangered and their future compromised by these continued captures from complex cultural pods which travel to the Amur delta.

The Marine Connection also has concerns that Utrish may also be exporting wild-captured Black Sea dolphins overseas. As described within our "See Red! campaign" pages, Dolphinella captive dolphin facility in Egypt contains three dolphins from Utrish, one which is stated as wild caught on the CITES export certificate. Verbally, Dolphinella has stated their dolphins are from the Black Sea which implies the wild caught dolphin is from the Black Sea. However, at the 12th CITES Conference of the Parties in 2002, capturing dolphins from the Black Sea and subsequently exporting them became illegal and we therefore suspect that this dolphin, exported in 2003, may have been illegally exported.

There are several other captive marine mammal facilities within Russia including, though not limited to, the following:

Utrish Dolphinarium Ltd.
- Moscow
- St. Petersburg
- Sochi
- Kislovodsk (under development)
Poklonny Hill, Moscow
Krestovsky Island, St Petersburg
Mega Marine LLC, Vladivostok
Opo Dolphinarium, Anapa (Black Sea coast)

The Marine Connection would be interested to hear from you if you have visited or have any information about captive facilities within the Russian Federation - contact us here.

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Conservation through education - protecting whales, dolphins and the world's oceans for the future generations