It’s not every day that a celebrity manages to help free hundreds of orcas and beluga whales from “whale jail”. Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the high-profile people who lent his name to the campaign to free the animals from terrible conditions off the Russian coast.
Of course, Leo is only part of the story. Environmentalists have been campaigning for months to save the animals, which were captured by criminal groups with the intention of selling them illegally to Chinese aquariums. There are more than 100 orcas and belugas trapped in small spaces surrounded by nets in the Pacific port city of Nakhodka — the largest number of sea creatures to ever be held in temporary enclosures.
Nearly a million people have now signed a petition calling for the whales to be freed, including Leonardo DiCaprio, who shared the petition, and other celebrities like Pamela Anderson. Leo, who calls himself an actor and environmentalist, tweeted to his 18 million followers, asking for them to sign the petition.
Please sign this petition and join me in speaking out against the inhumane capture of orcas and belugas in Russia. https://t.co/OED9zJ9fnz
— Leonardo DiCaprio (@LeoDiCaprio) February 26, 2019-Advertisement-
Lots of the animals are babies, including 11 orcas, 5 baby walrus and 90 baby belugas, despite it being illegal to capture whales this young. Videos (like the one in the tweet below) show whales dying in the freezing water.
But, the good news is that Russia has now said it will take action to free the animals. The four companies involved in keeping the whales in captivity have also been charged for breaking fishing laws.
Though it’s taken three months and lots of work from campaigners like Greenpeace, it looks as though the whales will soon be enjoying their freedom again.
Should sea animals be kept in captivity? Let us know your views in the comments
#Orcas & belugas are being held captive in small cages in a Russian bay. A winter cold snap is freezing the bay: the lives of these whales hang in the balance.-Advertisement-
— Change.org Canada (@CdnChange) February 25, 2019