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BELUGA WHALE SANCTUARY UPDATE:  Little Grey and Little White arrive safely after move to bay care area

BELUGA WHALE SANCTUARY UPDATE: Little Grey and Little White arrive safely after move to bay care area

We can now confirm that two beluga whales, Little Grey and Little White, are now...
Vessel Speed Limits Sought to Protect Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales

Vessel Speed Limits Sought to Protect Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales

"What we are asking for are essentially school zones along our coast, areas where vessels...
Columbia-Snake Rivers plan condemned as failure for salmon, Tribes, communities

Columbia-Snake Rivers plan condemned as failure for salmon, Tribes, communities

"We recognize our responsibility to help save them from extinction, and stand ready to do...
Tahlequah’s Pregnancy and Why I’m Cautiously Optimistic

Tahlequah’s Pregnancy and Why I’m Cautiously Optimistic

Photo taken under NMFS Permit #19091 SR3/NOAA/SEA The summer of 2018 was perhaps one of...
I'm an Orca Hero!

Everyone can be an Orca Hero!

Orca Action Month is an annual time to gather the human community of the Pacific...
Beluga Sanctuary Update – July 1st

Beluga Sanctuary Update – July 1st

Update: 1st July 2020 We have been working to relocate belugas, Little Grey and Little...
WDC funded research shows ‘pingers’ could save porpoises from fishing nets

WDC funded research shows ‘pingers’ could save porpoises from fishing nets

Underwater sound devices called ‘pingers’ could be an effective, long-term way to prevent porpoises getting...
We were SO close.

We were SO close.

We were so close. Because of the past couple of years, June makes me incredibly...

Russian Navy reported to have seized Ukranian dolphins for military

WDC is monitoring with concern reports that Russian armed forces have taken control of Ukrainian military bases holding dolphins.

WDC has documented the use of dolphins in military programmes and investigated the export of military dolphins from the Black Sea previously.

This is not a new phenomenon in the area. A military dolphinarium was established in June 1965 and began activities in Kazachya Bay, Sevastopol in April 1966. Until recently this facility operates as a state research centre for the Ministry of Defence and National Academy of Sciences of the Ukraine. Reports indicated that over the years a significant number of dolphins escaped from the programmes.

The direct killing of dolphins was practiced in the region until 1983 when Turkey finally banned the kill. Up to that point harbour porpoises, bottlenose dolphins and the ‘common dolphin’ were all killed in their millions.

Dolphins were killed primarily for oil in 19th and 20th Century, with some for meat, but it was mostly a commercial venture.

The USSR and previous Russian empire killed some 1.5 million dolphins. The total kills of Turkey, Russia and the other regional countries for the period have been estimated at 5 – 6 million

Black sea bottlenose dolphins are genetically distinct from all other bottlenose dolphins in the region and are subsequently recognised as a subspecies of the common bottlenose dolphin.

There is no current population estimate of the sub-species but they are listed as Endangered by the IUCN.

Current threats include incidental mortality in fishing nets, especially bottom set gill nets (it is reported that between 300 and 400 bottlenose dolphins are bycaught by Turkish fisheries every year), prey depletion, habitat degradation and pollution (including the microbial pollution from untreated sewage in coastal waters, thought by some to potentially be the cause of the morbillivirus).

Captivity trade

WDC investigated the trade in live caught dolphins between 1991 and 1997, leading to the WDC report ‘The Dolphin Traders’.

In the 1990s the Ukrainians and Soviets exported a number of dolphins to Argentina, Cyprus, Hungary, Israel Malta and Turkey, with some suspected exports to Vietnam and even Iran. The US military were so concerned at these exports that the WDC website was hacked from the US in what we believed was an attempt to get access to the report.

Most of these dolphins were described as ‘ex-military but were now being used to interact with the public.

Dolphins had been trained to locate divers and then interdict them, driving them to the surface using Carbon Dioxide . Others were trained to locate lost weapons.

Further to a campaign by WDC, CITES, the trade regulator, then banned the trade in bottlenose dolphins from the Black Sea.

WDC will watch with concern as the Russian Navy is reported to be planning to re-use the Ukrainian dolphins to go into harms way again.

Russia has now become one of the prime suppliers of whales and dolphins for the captivity trade. WDC is campaigning to stop this trade once and for all.